Red Auerbach, the legendary former coach of the Boston Celtics, was in intensive care at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Northwest last night after being hospitalized with an undisclosed health problem.

Auerbach had been in and out of the hospital for the past month for tests and a surgical procedure, Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said. Twiss would not specify Auerbach's ailment but said Auerbach had been admitted within the past 10 days. "He is feeling much better today," Twiss said, "which is good."

Auerbach, who will turn 88 on Sept. 20, had had health issues before this latest incident. In June, he wasn't feeling well enough to attend the Celtics' draft party in Waltham, Mass., where he has been a fixture. A few weeks later, he also was unable to attend his weeklong basketball camp, which has been in operation for more than four decades.

Auerbach's attorney, Rob Addes, denied a media report that his client has been in a coma. "He was never in a coma," Addes said.

Auerbach has two daughters, Nancy and Randy. His wife, Dorothy, died in 2000. The family has requested that no information about his condition be released. A statement on the Celtics' Web site read, "The Auerbach family expresses their deepest appreciation for the concern pertaining to the health of their father. Red has been under the weather at times recently and he has taken steps with his doctor to return to feeling better. The family asks that you please respect their privacy during this time."

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Auerbach has been a part of the Celtics' organization for the past 55 years but has always kept a home in Washington. He graduated from George Washington University and began his coaching career at St. Albans and Theodore Roosevelt high schools. After directing Navy from 1943 to 1946, Auerbach coached the Washington Capitols of the Basketball Association of America for three years and later guided the Tri-Cities Hawks.

He became the Celtics' third coach in 1950 and won nine NBA championships -- a record later tied by Phil Jackson -- before stepping down in 1966 to concentrate on being general manager. At that time of his retirement from coaching, he was the NBA's winningest coach with 938 victories and 479 losses. He has since been surpassed in the win column by Lenny Wilkens, Pat Riley, Don Nelson, Larry Brown, Bill Fitch and Jerry Sloan.

-- Michael Lee