Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge suffered a mild heart attack in Milwaukee on Tuesday, according to the team. Ainge received medical attention and is expected to make a full recovery. The Celtics said in a release that Ainge will return to Boston “shortly.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Ainge suffered the heart attack before the team’s Game 2 conference semifinal loss to the Bucks that night, and that the team was not aware of it during the game.
“Been in constant communication with his family,” Stevens said Thursday. “He’s resting well and feels better. Obviously, always scary, but he’s got a good support network. Obviously, expect a full recovery and he’s feeling good. So that’s all positive. Certainly scary.”
Ainge, who turned 60 in March, also suffered a heart attack in April 2009. He had surgery to have a clogged artery relieved by a stent then and was hospitalized for several days.
In the wee hours at the hospital, after learning my dad was ok, I was brought to tears thinking of how many people went above and beyond to help my dad &family. The medical staff and Celtics family did so much to help and make sure he was ok. We are so very grateful. Thank you!— Austin Ainge (@coachainge) May 2, 2019
Most Celtics players were made aware of Ainge’s condition when they arrived at practice Thursday morning. Guard Marcus Smart said he was relieved to find out that the prognosis was positive.
“Danny is just one of those guys who takes time out of his life, his day, when he’s doing his schedule to make sure you’re all right,” Smart said. “He constantly checks in on us, my family, and things like that.
“Just personally for me, he’s been another mentor for me from when I first got here. Danny was the person I see every day and am talking to, so he means a lot to my life as well. So like I said, I just hope he has a speedy recovery.”
Ainge last addressed the media last Friday, the morning after Celtics legend John Havlicek died. He traveled to Milwaukee to attend the Celtics’ first two games against the Bucks. The Celtics won Game 1 Sunday afternoon before losing by 21 points Tuesday night. Game 3 will be at TD Garden Friday night.
“If Danny was here, he’d want us focusing on being ready,” Smart said. “So we’re still trying to stay focused.”
Ainge was a member of two NBA champion Celtics teams in the 1980s and was selected to one All-Star Game as a player. He was named the team’s president of basketball operations in May 2003.
It is unclear when he will be able to attend a game again, but the Celtics are just thankful that he is already on the road to recovery.
“To me, he’s a friend,” Stevens said. “And the family’s been so good to us that you don’t even think about anything else. You just want him to be comfortable and feeling great and getting better, good prognosis. All that’s the case.
“Then, obviously, [thoughts] immediately go to his family and his kids and his wife and they all seem to be doing well, too.”