Year after heart surgery, Jeff Green celebrates with a slam
Celtics power forward Jeff Green seemed excited to mark the one-year anniversary of his heart surgery. So excited, that he led the team with 14 points and kicked it all off with back-to-back slam dunks in the first half of Wednesday night’s Celtics’ 87-79 win over the Phoenix Suns, their fourth win in a row.
“I can’t put it into words. I mean, it’s a wonderful day,” said Green in a press conference. Green missed all of the 2011/2012 season due to the surgery and recovery to repair and aortic aneurism.
His teammates call him Iron Man, and the nickname really seems to fit; since his surgery, the Celtic has been averaging 9.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. It’s great to see his enthusiasm to be out there playing. More than anything, Green said he is thankful to still be able to play after suffering his heart condition.
“I don’t cry, but it was [emotional],” Green told ESPN. “A year ago I had heart surgery. I think about lying in bed, when I woke up from it, to where I’m at now. It’s a big deal to me. I’m just glad to be here, glad to be alive, glad to be playing basketball.”
After the game, Celtics coach Doc Rivers sung Green’s praises, letting everyone know how proud he is to have him back on the court.
“It’s a good night, and who would’ve thought it a year ago? … It’s really a testament to Jeff, in general,” said Rivers. “The fact that he worked himself into the condition that he did. There had to be some kind of fear, somewhere, because to work yourself into condition you have to use that muscle. So it’s just really cool that he’s playing, and he’s playing well for us.”