Tommy Heinsohn, absent from recent Celtics telecasts, returned to air Friday

Tommy Heinsohn has been Mike Gorman’s partner on Celtics television broadcasts since 1980.
Tommy Heinsohn has been Mike Gorman’s partner on Celtics television broadcasts since 1980.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Tommy Heinsohn, who has been absent from Celtics broadcasts on NBC Sports Boston over the past few weeks with an illness, will be part of the broadcast Friday when the Celtics host the Mavericks, though not in the usual way.

Heinsohn, 84, will call in during the broadcast to offer his insights on the team during the second quarter.

The legendary Celtics player, coach, and television analyst — he has been Mike Gorman’s partner on regional Celtics broadcasts since 1980 — has not been on NBC Sports Boston’s coverage since late November.

Gorman and other on-air personalities have acknowledged his absence during the broadcasts, often by telling him to get well soon without explaining to viewers what was ailing him.


Heinsohn added some clarity to his situation in a conversation with NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg that was published Friday, explaining that he’s been dealing with what doctors believe to be a sleep disorder.

“I was nursing it along for quite a while then it really started to where I couldn’t get to the games,” said Heinsohn, who according to the story is set to be discharged from New England Rehab in Woburn on Saturday. “But I’m rehabbing right now. They’ve ruled out all [major concerns] — my heart is real strong, the lungs are clear, nothing wrong with my stomach, and we’re down to, perhaps, sleep apnea.

“I gotta go through the tests. They’ve put a mask on me here at the rehab. [The mask has] stopped me from waking up four times per night. I’m feeling refreshed in the morning.”

Heinsohn told NBC Sports Boston that he doesn’t know when he’ll be back at the Garden for Celtic games, but that he is as plugged in to the team as ever.

“It’s not that I’ve been hiding,” said Heinsohn. “I’ve been watching all the games.”


Chad Finn can be reached at finn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeChadFinn.