Russell on heart procedure, C's offseason

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
2:19
PM ET
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesBill Russell talked to NBA.com about his heart, the Celtics' offseason, and Ray Allen joining LeBron James in Miami.
Celtics legend Bill Russell spoke with NBA.com to explain a heart procedure he underwent three weeks ago. A sample of the Q&A:
Russell: It's really funny, but what I did was almost routine. But when you describe it, it doesn't sound routine. 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. The most I can do now is walk but the two things I enjoy the most, I can't do this summer. Drive my car, which every summer I drive across the country at least twice, and play golf every day. I can't do either one of those for a while. So, most of the summer I get to be a grouch.

NBA.com: You sound good. You're feeling fine?

Russell: Yes. It's all rehab basically. There was never ever any danger. The reason this was routine was because I was living a clean lifestyle. No drinking, smoking, etc. I'm in good shape.

Russell also talks about the Celtics' offseason, including the loss of Ray Allen:
Russell: You don't know how [the new Celtics] will play together. Getting a better player doesn't necessarily make you a better team. That may sound kind of weird. You may acquire a player with better statistics but may not make you a better team. Red Auerbach and the Celtics, we used to talk about that all the time. The question you have to ask yourself, 'How does his style fit with what you are going to put him with and will it make you a better team?' What Miami is doing is similar to a theory that Red used to have. You have a core group and you bring in some veterans so you don't have rookies coming off the bench. Most of the time it worked but sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, we would bring a veteran in hoping to get one more year out of them but they were psychologically destructive, so we can only use them one year. They were not about winning. They were about their career. See, a lot of guys give lip service to the concept of winning but they don't mean it.

NBA.com: Were you surprised Ray Allen left the Celtics to sign with Miami?

Russell: No. During the playoffs, I kept hearing people say that his legs were going so his jump shot wasn't as effective. Sometimes, management doesn't make their own decisions and takes the word of someone who doesn't really know. So, Ray can be a boost to Miami. But Jason Terry going to the Celtics can also be a boost. Basically, you're trading a shooter for a scrapper. So, you have to see how it blends in with the guys who you kept.

Hop HERE to read the full Q&A.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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