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Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Rivers discusses throat biopsy

By Chris Forsberg



BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers underwent a biopsy Sunday morning at a Boston-area hospital to determine if lesions found on his throat were cancerous. The test results came back negative and Rivers can now joke about the scare.

"I’m going to be around for a little while, it looks like," Rivers said after Boston's open practice Tuesday night at TD Garden. "I'm sure that disappoints everyone."

Rivers revealed how, at the urging of former Celtics coach Jim O'Brien, he's undergone annual examinations of his throat and vocal chords for the past three years because of the stress placed on those areas by his profession. Doctors found a concerning spot during an examination three weeks ago, forcing Rivers to undergo the biopsy, which showed the lesions to be noncancerous.

"Jim O'Brien suggested it two or three years ago and said every coach should do it," said Rivers, who has been spreading the word himself. "I'm glad I did it.

"I think most coaches should because we yell and use our throat a lot. It makes you more susceptible."

Rivers did not attend the team's practice Monday, allowing first-year assistant coach Lawrence Frank to run the session and handle the media chores. Rivers returned to the floor for Boston's session Tuesday night, but kept his talking to a minimum, allowing Frank again to guide the practice (and give a pregame speech to the crowd).

"I kind of like Lawrence as my megaphone," said Rivers, who stuck to short answers when addressing the media, but lacked none of his usual humor.

And his players, while happy for their coach's health, kidded that they don't mind having him on mute for a bit.

"I love it," said Kevin Garnett, his face lighting up at the thought of not being screamed at during practice. "I love it."