The Celtics received an unexpected guest for Thursday’s season-finale against the Milwaukee Bucks as former forward Chris Wilcox watched the game from a baseline seat, his first Celtics game since undergoing surgery for an enlarged aorta on March 29.
Wilcox said he will be able to resume basketball activities in three months and will be available to play in the NBA next season.
“I’m feeling good man, I’m feeling a whole lot better,” he said at halftime of the Celtics-Bucks game. “It’s over with now. (The doctor) told me I got like a couple of more months to get back right and then a month to recover and I’m straight. I’ve been doing cardiac rehab, so I’m feeling a whole lot better now.”
Wilcox told the Globe that a December pre-season physical detected a potential aortic issue and he was told to return for a further exam in three months. A March exam determined an enlarged aorta and season-ending surgery was required. Wilcox has yet to appear in the postseason in his nine-year career, and this year with the Celtics would have been the first. He averaged 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 28 games for the season after signing a one-year contract in December.
“I’m definitely disappointed that I can’t be out there,” he said. “At the end of the day it saved my life so I can’t even complain. I never knew what was going on, so I never got no checkups or nothing. I’ve been doing like everybody else, getting a physical at the beginning of the season every year.”
Wilcox was the second Celtic player to miss time with an aortic-related surgery. Jeff Green missed the entire season after surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.
“I talked to (Green) on the regular,” Wilcox said. “I kept calling him like ‘Yo what was going on when you were having your surgery.’ I was kind of paranoid at first. But once I got in the hospital everything was straight. It’s been smooth sailing since then. Everything is getting better.”
Wilcox talked with his former teammates and said he was grateful to be back in Boston.
“It feels great,” he said. “Like I said, I’ll be home with my wife and she’ll say ‘you don’t need to watch the game if you are going to get that excited.’ So I have been following the guys.”