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Michael Cooper returns to bench, will travel on upcoming road trip

The Atlanta Dream did get some good news on Sunday as head coach Michael Cooper returned to the sideline after leaving the team to seek treatment for early stage tongue cancer.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Dream did get a boost on Sunday as head coach Michael Cooper returned to the sidelines for the first time since leaving the team to seek treatment for early stage tongue cancer. Cooper had surgery on July 25 and missed five games. Atlanta went 2-3 during that span with assistant coach Karleen Thompson filling in. Thompson did indicate that Cooper would be with the team when they embark on a four-game road trip starting on Tuesday in Phoenix.

"Yeah he's here. He's doing well," said Thompson. "He can't yell as much as he probably wants to. Coaching you have to be very instinctive. He can tell me what to say but when he wants to say something sometimes its hard for him to get it out there at that right moment but no he's here."

That is good news for Atlanta who seemed to lose their edge with Cooper out of the picture. Atlanta has already clinched a playoff birth but the remaining seven games figure to be a test. To make matters worse, five of the seven will be played on the road where the Dream are just 6-6 on the season.

The Dream begin a western swing against the Mercury on Tuesday before playing a back-to-back in Seattle and Los Angeles on Thursday and Friday. They will wrap up the trip in Chicago on Sunday.

So its going to be a torrid stretch to finish the regular season for the Dream but at least they will Cooper back to help lead the way.