Indianapolis, IN-- It took Chuck Pagano less than nine months to instill his fighter's mentality and hopeful spirit in the Indianapolis Colts.
He will need both to survive the biggest battle of his life -- leukemia.
In a somber news conference Monday, the Colts announced that their new coach had been hospitalized for cancer treatment and probably would not return to full coaching duties this season. He will be replaced on an interim basis by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
Arians, who survived a fight with prostate cancer in 2007, says Pagano "will do fine. I know him. He's a fighter."
Pagano's physician, Dr. Larry Cripe, says the 51-year-old coach began undergoing "arduous" treatment last week. He declined to discuss the survival rates for patients with this form of of leukemia.
Colts owner Jim Irsay says Pagano's wife pushed him to see the doctor after noticing unusual bruising on the coach's body.
Pagano earned his first win Sept. 16 against the Vikings. The 1-2 Colts had a bye last weekend and are preparing to host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.