Green shines one year after heart surgery

Green shines one year after heart surgery
January 10, 2013, 5:46 am
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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."