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For Oklahomans, here's a reason why the Spurs' triumph isn't so bad

COMMENTARY -- While the Thunder's loss to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals has been a heartache for most Oklahomans, it's been a godsend for Conner Davey of Washington as he battles cancer.
by Jenni Carlson Published: June 3, 2014
/articleid/4879970/1/pictures/2721608">Photo - 
Oklahoma native Conner Davey has taken his love of the Spurs to the Baylor Cancer Hospital in Dallas. He is battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma for the second time and recently had a stem cell transplant.
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Photo provided
Oklahoma native Conner Davey has taken his love of the Spurs to the Baylor Cancer Hospital in Dallas. He is battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma for the second time and recently had a stem cell transplant. - Photo provided

But on July 5, 2013, only a few weeks after the Spurs lost to the Heat in the NBA Finals, Davey had his last treatment and went into remission. He started school again in the fall, and everything was great. He was still a little weak and tired from all of his treatments, but for the most part, he felt good.

After returning to campus from Christmas break, Davey went out for a beer with some friends. The right side of his neck swelled up a bunch.

When he went out for a beer a week later and his neck swelled again, Davey did what many Americans do when they have medical questions and searched

One of the symptoms of Hodgkin’s, it said, is neck swelling.

His doctor soon confirmed what Davey feared — his cancer had returned.

“Usually it doesn’t come back for a few years if it does come back,” Davey said, “and it came back in like six months. That means it’s pretty aggressive.”

His doctors decided chemo wouldn’t be enough and scheduled him for a stem cell transplant.

On May 19, Davey checked into the Baylor Cancer Hospital for seven straight days of chemo to prepare his body for the transplant. It knocked down his white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

Then after a day of rest, he got the transplant.

The hope is that the transplanted stem cells clear out the cancer and provide a re-boot of Davey’s system. But in the process, his immune system was depleted, so he has to stay in the hospital until his white blood cell count rebounds.

Davey hopes that happens in the next few days, but until then, he’s waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

“I am quite bored,” he said. “They block all the good movie websites. They don’t have any good TV.”

Unless the Spurs are playing.

No matter if he’s hooked up to a machine or taking some meds or feeling blah, he puts on his jersey and hunkers down in this room to watch the game. The Spurs’ long run through the playoffs have been a godsend for Davey.

“I don’t want to say I prayed about it,” he said, “but it definitely makes it easier being the hospital, being able to root for the Spurs.”

Everyone in the ward knows who he’s rooting for, too. The nurses have actually warned him that other patients have complained about the words and noises coming from his room during games.

Could something that makes him feel good be bad?

Davey likes the Spurs’ chances of beating the Heat, though he worries whether they’ll be able to stop LeBron James if he decides to take it to another level. Then again, the Heat don’t really have an answer for Tony Parker or the Spurs’ bench either.

For Davey, who suspects he’ll out of the hospital in a week or so, being able to watch the Spurs win a title would be great.

Being able to do so without waking the ward and alarming the nurses would be the best.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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