Just as every NBA player eventually learns to master the art of playing while not 100 percent healthy, a coach can occasionally be forced to do the same. Such was the case on Tuesday night for Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.
Two days after undergoing minor surgery on his throat at Massachusetts General Hospital, the C’s coach returned to his team on Tuesday evening to lead his players in their open practice in front of the TD Garden fans. He may not be 100 percent recovered, but he’s back to work.
“I’m feeling a lot better,” Rivers said. “I can’t talk a lot, but that’s good.”
While it was initially alarming that Rivers didn’t show up for practice Monday, the Celtics’ coach explained that the procedure was simple and turned out well.
“They were just checking for cancerous lesions,” he said. “They had to make sure there was nothing there, and there was nothing. So I’m good.”
Having his throat examined is nothing new for Rivers, and it’s a procedure that makes sense, given his line of work.
“I do it every year,” he said. “I’ve done it the last three years. I think most coaches should, because we yell. We use our throats a lot, and that makes you more susceptible to it. So I did it, and now I’m glad I did.”
He described the procedure briefly — the doctors use a tube to examine his throat and vocal chords, looking for anything harmful. This year, when he went in for his checkup three weeks ago, they caught a suspicious spot, and a biopsy was required to follow up.
Fortunately for Rivers, the biopsy came back clean.
“So that’s good,” he said. “I’m going to be around for a while, it looks like.”