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Brad Stevens returns after visiting sick ex-Butler C Andrew Smith

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SVP On Brad Stevens: 'One of the great guys' (0:33)

Scott Van Pelt talks about Celtics coach Brad Stevens who decided to miss Thursday's game against the Bulls to be with Andrew Smith who played for Stevens at Butler and is battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma. (0:33)

Celtics coach Brad Stevens rejoined the team before its flight to Memphis on Saturday and led an afternoon practice at the University of Memphis.

Stevens traveled to Indiana on Thursday to visit with Andrew Smith, one of his former Butler players, who is battling cancer. Stevens missed the team's loss to the Bulls.

Stevens told reporters in Memphis that the past few days have been, "Very challenging, certainly puts things in a lot of perspective."

Smith, 25, was a center who played in Butler's two national championship game appearances when Stevens was the Bulldogs coach. He had been readmitted to the hospital amid a two-year battle with cancer, according to The Indianapolis Star. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January 2014, according to the report.

Smith's wife, Samantha, asked for support Wednesday on social media. Smith's father, Curt, acknowledged Stevens' visit on Twitter on Thursday.

Stevens also visited Smith in November while the Celtics were in town to play the Pacers, two days before Smith was to receive a previous bone-marrow transplant.

"[Stevens] makes it very clear to our players on a day-to-day basis that family is the most important," said Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga, who coached the team in Stevens' absence on Thursday.