Green shines one year after heart surgery

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Green shines one year after heart surgery

BOSTON -- As Jeff Green walked off the court, a smile crossed his face wide enough to be seen from rows behind the Boston Celtics bench.   
He had just scored 10 points in 13 first half minutes, a stretch filled with back-to-back dunks in a span of 23 seconds that electrified the TD Garden crowd.   
The image was a stark contrast to the photograph Green tweeted earlier in the day, marking the one year anniversary of his season-ending open heart surgery on January 9, 2012.  
A year ago my life changed...1-9-12 blessed to see another day and thankful for my family and friends. LOVE Y'ALL!!!
The picture showed Green lying in a hospital bed at the Cleveland Clinic, eyes closed, with tubes and IVs coming out of his body.  
"It was hard," Green said prior to the Celtics win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. "A year ago I was just waking up to find myself laying in there not being able to move with IVs coming out of different places, my chest being split open. To look at that now, to think about how far I've come to be playing back in the NBA, being healthy, being able to run up and down the floor, it's a great journey. So I'm happy for another turn of events that occurred in my life and I think made me a better person."  
Green suffered complications from the surgery and was not given a timetable for a return by his doctors. He was told to take six months for his chest to heal and then the rest would be at his pace.   
Green took his recovery one step at a time and refused to impose deadlines on himself. After everything he had been through, he didn't want to feel disappointed if he missed a self-imposed milestone.  
"I was thinking about the next day, what I needed to do to get better for the next day," said Green. "That's about it."  
Green inked a four-year deal with the Celtics this summer and returned to the court in time for the start of the 2012-13 season. The 6-foot-9 forward has already put together a highlight reel of dunks thus far and has been finding his rhythm and consistency as games progress.   
On the one-year anniversary, Green finished the night with 14 points (5-9 FG, 4-4 FT) and three rebounds in 26 minutes as the Celtics beat the Suns, 87-79.   
"I can't put it into words," he said. "It's a wonderful day." 

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.