Healthy Green ready to contribute

Healthy Green ready to contribute
September 14, 2012, 11:58 pm
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DORCHESTER It remains to be seen just how good Jeff Green will be for the Boston Celtics this season.

One thing the 6-foot-9 forward made emphatically clear on Friday.

"I'm fully recovered, part of the team, cleared for everything," Green said following a Basketball clinic along with Celtics rookies Kris Joseph and Dionte Christmas that was part of a community service project at Dorchester's Holland Elementary School that included Harvard Pilgrim Care and its Foundation, the Boston Celtics and City Year which is a non-profit organization that assists public schools and teachers in helping students succeed.

Green said getting into a groove has been probably the biggest challenge for him thus far.

"But that'll come," he said. "We still got two months until the beginning of the season. I've been fully able to do everything, contact; my shot is there, my movements there everything is coming along."

And while Green would have loved to have been on the floor with the C's last season, he understands his time away from the game will actually benefit him both this season and moving forward in his career.

"What I went through, it was a blessing in disguise," he said. "It allowed me to sit back and get things from a different point of view. Now I just have to go out there and play basketball."

Green has been among the C's in town recently to participate in pick-up games, proving early on that the heart issues that sidelined him all of last season are no longer factors.

The C's already have Green pegged as Paul Pierce's backup at small forward, in addition to him playing some power forward when the Celtics play a smaller lineup which will happen more frequently this season.

With such a prominent role already established, the level of expectations for Green are clear.

When you throw in the fact that the C's signed him to a four year deal worth 36 million after missing all of last season, that only adds to the potential pressure he will face heading into the season.

But when asked about the pressure of what would be his first full season with the C's, Green chuckled and said, "you guys put the pressure on me. There's no pressure on myself."

That said, Green knows for him to play at the level that he wants to - and his teammates, coaches, etc. expect - he has to be more aggressive.

"That's about it," Green said. "My game speaks for itself; a guy that can play multiple positions; guard multiple, different areas on the court. And attack in different situations. My game is what it is. I just have to improve in different things and show out there on the court."

When Green came to Boston as part of Kendrick Perkins trade in 2010-2011 season, it was clear that he was trying - too hard, actually - to try and fit in and not ruffle any feathers.

Green was seen as the player Boston essentially traded Perkins for, the same Perkins who was a fan favorite of Celtics Nation in addition to being loved by his teammates for his toughness.

Not only were Green and Perkins two different players, but their demeanor only made the transition tougher for Green who is very low key while Perkins is a bit more demonstrative.

But enough time has passed for all involved to move past the comparisons and focus solely on what Green can bring to the floor for Boston.

And while his first stint on the floor with the C's saw him somewhat timid and consistently deferring to his more seasoned teammates, their prodding him to be more of an impact player should manifest itself on the court this season.

"They also want me to do well and be more aggressive because that takes more pressure off them," Green said. "If I can do what I can do, that can open up the gates for Kevin (Garnett) and Paul (Pierce) and continue to dominate like they've been doing."

In addition to the time he spent reflecting on his game while recovering from heart surgery, Green also used that time to finish up his degree in English from Georgetown.

"Education allows you to do so much in this world and gives you so many opportunities," Green told the kids at Holland Elementary School.

Green added, "Education for me was big. I know basketball is not forever. That's one message I wanted to get through to them."

After all he has gone through this past year, few players understand that point as well as Green.