DORCHESTER – It was a normal community appearance for the Celtics, who sent three players to Holland Elementary School to teach students some basketball skills.
It wasn’t a normal appearance for Jeff Green, who is thrilled to be back with the Celtics and playing basketball after missing last season after suffering an aortic aneurysm.
Green underwent surgery in January and was cleared to return to basketball next season, signing a four-year pact with the Celtics that just became official three weeks ago.
Green immediately bonded with the kids and enjoyed every moment of teaching some life lessons after such a trying experience.
“I’m fully recovered, part of the team, cleared for everything,” said Green, who averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 26 games with Boston. “What I went through is a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to sit back and get things from a different point of view. So now I just have to play basketball.”
Green joined the Celtics in a controversial midseason trade in February 2011 for Kendrick Perkins, who was sent to Oklahoma City. Green never quite gained comfort in the Celtics’ system but the team had big plans for him last season, as a combination forward coming off the bench to spell Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. But he was felled by a failed physical during training camp and cardiologists detected an issue with his aorta.
The Celtics missed out on a key bench player in his absence but will finished one game within an NBA Finals appearance, losing the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals to the eventual champion Miami Heat.
Green has been workout in Waltham with teammates Kris Joseph, Jason Terry, Dionte Christmas and even Rajon Rondo. The games have been competitive and Green said he is reach full comfort.
“My game pretty much speaks for itself, a guy who can play multiple positions,” he said. “Attacking different situation. I just have to improve in different things and show out there on the court. (The veterans) want to see me aggressive because it takes less pressure off of them.”
Green was a hit with the children, many of whom raced over to offer him high-fives after the session was over.
“I had a lot of fun, it felt good to get back out here in the community,” he said. “I haven’t been able to the past year or so, but now that I’m back with the team and able to do this, it’s great coming out here. That’s what I told them what I went through and the surgery. Basketball isn’t everything. You have to have a ‘Plan B’ and my ‘Plan B’ was to go back and get my education. Even though I had surgery I was able to do that. By me having the podium that I have and they listen, it was a great opportunity.”