Denver Nuggets’ Jeff Green is taking nothing for granted in the NBA Finals —

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MIAMI – NBA veteran forward Jeff Green has good reason to take pride in being called “OG” and “Uncle Jeff” by his Denver Nuggets teammates.

The 36-year-old is one of the NBA’s oldest players and has played on 12 teams in 16 seasons. If the Nuggets win their first NBA championship, Green will become the 15th player in league history to win a first title at age 36 or older. Most importantly, the Nuggets forward merely playing basketball after major surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm in 2012 offers encouragement from the NBA Finals to those facing a similar health nightmare.

“Your life is not close to being over,” Green told Andscape. “It’s just something that you have to deal with to live life. At the end of the day, everybody has to deal with some obstacle throughout their life. That’s just a part of life. You deal with stuff, you get better from it and you get better yourself from it.”

Green stands a svelte 6-feet-8, weighs 235 pounds and has a muscular build. Don’t let his age fool you — the athletic Green can still dunk on anyone in the NBA. The Miami resident credits his fitness guru wife, Stephanie, and men’s health and wellness coach Andy Lucas and others locally for keeping his body ready for the demands of the NBA. Green has averaged 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 1,107 NBA regular-season games.

And when the Maryland native played in his 101st playoff game on Wednesday, a 109-94 victory over the Miami Heat, he scored four points in 17 minutes to help the Nuggets take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

“We got a win. We’ve got to do it again,” Green said after the game. “We have another game in a couple days. We’ve got to bring the same amount of energy and effort. It’s just one game.

“Everybody has said it throughout the playoffs: It’s the first to four. So, we’ve got to duplicate what we did [in Game 3], plus a little bit more.”

Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green celebrates after a dunk in the fourth quarter of a 99-82 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden on April 5, 2011, in Boston.

Matthew West/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

Back in 2011, Green probably would have thought that such an NBA Finals scenario would have been a fairy tale. A routine preseason physical with the Boston Celtics in 2011 revealed an aortic aneurysm. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aortic aneurysms can dissect or rupture, and they are the “cause of most deaths from aortic aneurysms.” Green’s diagnosis led the Celtics to void his one-year contract for the 2011-12 season and caused him to miss the entire season as well.

Cardiac surgeon Dr. Lars Svensson of the Cleveland Clinic led Green’s surgery on Jan. 9, 2012. Since Green had a paper-thin blood vessel that was on the verge of rupturing, Svensson…

Read More: Denver Nuggets’ Jeff Green is taking nothing for granted in the NBA Finals — 2023-06-08 20:09:02

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