Green, Wilcox to take on new season with scars to show

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Green, Wilcox to take on new season with scars to show

MIAMI -- The beaming lights and sea of orange and red seats engulfed the 6-9 forward as he stood on the court of the American Airlines Arena. Jeff Green's eyes glimmered while he slowly looked around the building. He paused, losing sight of the present for just a moment and thinking ahead to Opening Night.

The first game of the 2012-13 NBA season. The first game of the Boston Celtics quest for Banner 18. The first game for Green since heart surgery in January.

"It's like fireworks," he told CSNNE.com as a smile crossed his face. "It's like the Fourth of July."

Green and teammate Chris Wilcox underwent season-ending heart surgery in 2012. Green never suited up for the Celtics last season -- he last played on May 11, 2011. Wilcox appeared in 28 games through March 7. Both have been cleared to play this season, starting with Opening Night in Miami on Tuesday against the Heat.

"It probably hasn't really hit me yet," said Wilcox. "Probably when I get in the locker room and see everything and get ready, it'll probably hit me. The first time I saw my jersey when we were overseas, I got emotional. It's here now. It's a blessing."

While Green and Wilcox are proud to wear the Celtics uniform (each re-signed with the C's this summer), they are even more proud of what is underneath their jerseys. Both players have scars that run down their chest as a result of their surgeries.

Battle wounds.

The two were overcome by emotions the first time they saw the permanent reminders. Green had never undergone surgery before and considers waking up from the operation to find IVs, tubes, and bandages as the most difficult point of the process.

"It wasn't me," said Green. "I cried because I'd never seen myself like that. I'm a fit guy, I love taking care of my body. The first time I looked in the mirror with the slash down the middle, my body wasn't the same. It wasn't a good thing to look at at first."

Wilcox was so anxious about the procedure he lost weight due to loss of appetite two weeks before his surgery. Facing his own image following the operation was challenging.  

"When I first looked in the mirror, it was tough because I was like, 'I've got to live with this (scar),'" he said. "I was like ashamed of it, like I have to walk around with this. But now it's like, it's me. I'm more ok, it is what it is. I'm more confident with it. Now it's like a blessing. When I look at it now, it's just like motivation for me."

Green emerged as the Celtics standout player of the preseason, averaging 13.9 points and 4.9 rebounds using his length and athleticism with an inside and outside game. Wilcox was hampered by a back injury but looks to return as a big man who can play two positions (forward-center) and run in transition with Rajon Rondo.

They hope 2013 will be a season of new beginnings for Green and Wilcox. They always have reminders of past to make them appreciate their future in the NBA.

"It means a lot," Green said of his scar. "It's the new me. My whole character now and it shows what I've been through. I'll never forget it."

HEISMAN: Lousiville's Lamar Jackson wins College Football's highest award

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HEISMAN: Lousiville's Lamar Jackson wins College Football's highest award

NEW YORK -- Lamar Jackson leapt over a loaded field of Heisman Trophy contenders early in the season and by the time he slowed down nobody could catch him.

The sensational sophomore quarterback became the first Louisville player to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, beating out preseason favorite Deshaun Watson of Clemson despite some late-season struggles.

Baker Mayfield finished third and Oklahoma teammate and fellow finalist Dede Westbrook was fourth. Michigan's Jabrill Peppers was fifth.

For more clicke here . . .

Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs

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Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs

BOSTON -- The Bruins’ season has gone in extreme swings both up and down thus far through the first couple of months, and that was the case as they lost their third game in a row to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

The Bruins couldn’t only scratch for one goal despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by a 32-20 margin, and fell by a disappointing 4-1 score to the young and talented Toronto club at TD Garden.

The Bruins never enjoyed a lead in the game against the Leafs, and were flirting with danger after failing to score in the first period despite out-shooting Toronto by an 11-2 margin in the game’s opening 20 minutes. Instead it was a David Pastrnak neutral zone turnover in the second period that was picked off by William Nylander, and ended with Auston Matthews firing a rocket over Tuukka Rask for his 12th goal of the season.

Toronto extended the lead with five minutes to go in the period when Zach Hyman tipped a wobbly Jake Gardiner point shot past Rask, and made it three games in a row that the Bruins have dug themselves a considerable hole. Brad Marchand got one goal back at the end of the second period on a nice hustle play as he sealed off Frederik Anderson’s clearing attempt and then stuffed the puck past the Leafs goalie on a second chance bid.

That’s the way the score remained until the third period when the Bruins couldn’t convert on a couple of offensive chances -- included a bang-bang shorthanded bid for Austin Czarnik in front of the net -- and then James van Riemsdyk scored in front as a Toronto power play expired. That was the backbreaker for a Black and Gold bunch that continues to scrap for goals, and has now scored two goals or less in 20 of their 20 games this season.

Connor Brown added an empty netter in the final two minutes of the game to truly put it out of reach for the Bruins.