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Cavs news: Jeff Green’s life was saved at Cleveland Clinic, Tyronn Lue helped nurse him back to health

Jeff Green Cavs Celtics

In January of 2012, Jeff Green was in need of serious medical attention. What was his ailment, you ask? A damaged heart. More specifically, an enlarged valve to his aorta.

Green, who was a member of the Boston Celtics at the time, came to the world renowned Cleveland Clinic to visit Dr. Lars Svensson for his surgical expertise.

Jeff Green at Cleveland Clinic via The Players' Tribune

After undergoing a successful open heart procedure — one that likely saved his life — the 6-foot-9 forward was nursed back to health even further by none other than current Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue. In those days, coach Lue was serving as an assistant with the Boston Celtics under coach Doc Rivers. Now, several years later, the player/coach tandem will be reunited in Northeast Ohio.

Via Joe Vardon of cleveland.com:

“Having (Green) in Boston and him being like my project and who I had to work with all the time, I think it’s going to be a great fit for him,” Lue told cleveland.com.” And, I think he believes that too.

“For a guy of his caliber player to come in for the minimum, when he could’ve gotten more money, that shows he has confidence and trust in me also, so, I think it’s a great pickup for us.”

As it turns out, Dr. Svensson, who has performed open heart surgery on several NBA players, is a fan of the Cavaliers. The good doctor says that when he first looked at Green’s heart, there was immediate concern.

“When I saw his aorta and opening him up and saw how thin it was and it was translucent, my heart sort of skipped a beat,” Dr. Svensson tells cleveland.com. “Thank goodness we were able to operate on him before something serious happened. I have no doubt things would’ve progressed rapidly with really serious consequences if he hadn’t had surgery.”

Dr. Svensson, who admits he has a soft spot for Green, went on to praise his former patient’s spirit and drive towards a successful recovery from surgery.

“I’ve always had a very soft spot for Jeff,” Svensson said. “I mean, he’s a superb player. He went through a big and tough operation and yet he’s got an incredible spirit and competitiveness about him. To go through that and mentally to have the fortitude to go through the practicing, building up his strength again, and to play at such a high level again, just shows what a fantastic person he is.

“I’ve been a Cavs fan for many years and I go to games as much as I can, and to have Jeff here is really special,” Svensson said.

As most hoops fans know, Green, now 31 years of age, agreed to a deal with the Cavs prior to one of the bigger deals of the 2017 NBA offseason that saw Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas swap teams. Coach Lue will likely have Green playing behind LeBron James, but there could be times when they’re on the floor together.

Green, who holds a special place in his heart for the city of Cleveland, has said that he is excited to play for his new team. It seems his coach and former surgeon feel the same way.

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