Those silly, little physicals that athletes take — the ones that seem so routine, so unnecessary because these are, after all, athletes — may have saved the life of Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green.
During an exam, Green, who is from Hyattsville and played at Georgetown, was found to have an aortic aneurysm, a ballooning of the major artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. He’ll have surgery to repair the condition Monday at the Cleveland Clinic and will miss the entire NBA season, according to the Celtics. Green, 25, is expected to fully recover and resume his NBA career (as other players have done).
“He’s, I guess, as upbeat as anyone can be,” Hoyas Coach John Thompson III said Saturday. “I don’t want to speak for Jeff, but it’s been a trying week. I’ve seen the progression from terrified to confident, and that comes with education. That comes with truly understanding what he’s going through, and what he has to go through, and the confidence in his support system and the confidence in the doctors that he’s going to be working with. And with each day, that has grown.”
Green tweeted that he watched “Saturday Night Live” rather than going to see the new “Mission Impossible” and joked that he feels like “99 bucks.”
Green was acquired by the Celtics in a February trade for Kendrick Perkins and asked that the team not speak about his condition, but Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, released a statement:
“While we are saddened that Jeff will not be able to play this season, the most important thing is his health, and we were fortunate to have access to an amazing team of specialists to evaluate Jeff’s case. The entire Celtics family supports Jeff during this difficult time in his career.’’
While the exact nature of Green’s ailment has not been revealed, several players have resumed NBA careers after undergoing heart surgery. The Wizards’ Ronny Turiaf had surgery in 2005 and resumed his career. So did Etan Thomas in 2007.
“I feel great,” Thomas told SI.com in 2008. “The hard part is over. The hard part was last year after the surgery [rehabilitating]. I had to start from scratch — I mean baby steps. ... I’d maybe walk from here to across the room twice, and that would be it for the day. I really wanted to come back [last season], but my body wasn’t ready.”