Nationals owner Lerner has leg amputated amid cancer battle
Mark Lerner has been noticeably absent from Washington Nationals games this season, and now we know why.
Nationals owner Lerner revealed he has been battling cancer, which was located in his now-amputated left leg.
While Lerner is now cancer-free, he had to have his leg removed in the process.
"With my doctors and medical team, we decided that amputation of that leg was my best choice to maintain the active and busy lifestyle that I have always enjoyed," Lerner wrote in a letter to The Washington Post.
"The limb was removed in early August and I'm healing well, cancer-free, and looking forward to my eventual new prosthetic."
Lerner said the cancer, a rare type called spindle cell sarcoma, was discovered above the knee in January.
He said he completed radiation therapy in March and had surgery to remove the last of the cancer, but the radiation resulted in him not being able to heal from the surgery.
As a result, Lerner and the doctors decided amputation was the best option.
Lerner is one of the few owners who is front and centre during games. His seat is normally right by the Nationals' dugout.
But he has only appeared a small handful of times this season, with his last appearance on July 30.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the team noticed Lerner's absence, but it was not until a senior staff meeting Wednesday and a players' meeting on Thursday that the organisation learned about his cancer battle.
"It's been difficult to explain to players, to staff, to everybody," Rizzo said. "They want to be private about it, and that's their right. But his absence was noticed. Not having him in the draft room; he's always in the draft room. Not having him at the trade deadline, when you're talking to Mr. Lerner and the group 20 times a day.
"I know they were keeping him abreast, and he had other things on his mind, but I missed him. It was sad. I was bummed out about it."