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Celtics legend Bill Russell describes his surgery, recovery

Sep 13, 2012, 4:43 PM EDT

Bill Russell AP

We’ve been getting bits and pieces of the reports about Bill Russell having heart surgery and his recovery, but there were not many details.

But in a Q&A with NBA.com Russell was up front about what happened, the surgery he had three weeks ago and he made it sound like it was no big deal… almost.

I had a valve in my heart that had to be replaced and the way you replace it is by open-heart surgery. Well, open-heart surgery sounds difficult but this was not an emergency. It was something I had to do. The same operation in an emergency is life threatening. This was not life threatening.

They took the valve out and replaced it. It only took a couple of hours to do that. I talked to the doctors after and they said they were pleased with the procedure. They said I would be sore after a while and after that, they said I would feel better than I ever did at this point.

What Russell did not get to do following the surgery was play golf or take a cross-country drive, two of his favorite things. But he is working his way through rehab and getting better.

We all wish him the best with his recovery and hope he is on the golf course again soon. Plus, we want to see him back at Celtics games.

  1. hatesycophants - Sep 13, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    GOAT.

    • ezwriter69 - Sep 13, 2012 at 7:35 PM

      In ANY sport.

  2. vasteelerfan - Sep 13, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    I went to a camp as a high schooler and he was there. His laugh, his intelligence, and his drive was an inspiration that stayed with me my entire life. His treatment in Boston was very bad, but still he returns to the town that loves him now I wish you well Bill, get well soon. You are a gift that is not totally appreciated.

  3. jimeejohnson - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    One thing’s fer sure: Bill loved Red Auerbach and Red loved Bill. “Hater’s gonna hate” may be cliché, but it explains how anyone could berate an enigma like Bill Russell. When you consider that Russell won more championships than any other top 50 NBA player BY FAR, you understand his significance.

  4. omniusprime - Sep 15, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Despite my being a Laker fan for many decades and hated watching Bill Russell and his Celtics find ways to beat my Lakers in the NBA Finals I wish Bill a speedy band complete recovery. As a Wilt Chamberlain fan Bill would drive me nuts as he always found ways to beat Chamberlain when he was with the 76’ers or Lakers. After he stopped bedeviling my Lakers I found him quite knowledgable and entertaining as an analyst. Get Well soonest Bill !!

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