BOSTON -- The questions about his health are inevitable after he sat out all of last season after surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, but Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green doesn't waste much time stressing that he's physically ready for the 2012-13 campaign.
"Fully recovered, part of the team, cleared for everything," Green said Friday after joining teammates Dionte Christmas and Kris Joseph to run a basketball clinic at the Holland Elementary School in Dorchester, as part of a community service day alongside other members of the Celtics' organization, the Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare Foundation, and City Year volunteers.
Green knows he'll be peppered with questions about his health, but having not played an NBA game in nearly 16 months, it's clear his focus now is on what lies ahead. That's why when asked about the toughest hurdle in getting back on the floor, he smiles and declares, "Nothing."
To be certain, there is rust to shake.
"Getting in a groove, getting in a rhythm -- but it'll come," Green said. "We still have two months until the beginning of the regular season. That stuff will come. I've really been able to do everything -- contact, my movements, my shot is there, my lift is there. Everything is coming along."
Green signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the Celtics last month despite sitting out all of last season when a preseason screening detected the aneurysm. He underwent surgery at the renowned Cleveland Clinic and rehabbed at times around the team with a goal of returning to Boston this season.
Originally acquired from Oklahoma City at the trade deadline in February 2011, Green didn't feel like he put his best foot forward in his abbreviated time with the Celtics. A year off gave the 26-year-old time to assess his game, and he hopes to make a bigger impact on the 2012-13 squad.
"Just probably being more assertive, more aggressive in certain situations," Green said of changes he'd like to make in his approach. "That's about it. My game pretty much speaks for itself -- a guy who can play multiple positions ... attack in different situations. My game is what it is. I just have to improve on different things. Just show it out there on the court."
That includes a renewed focus on rebounding, one of his weaker points.
"(Rebounding is about) being aggressive toward the ball," Green said. "It's a hard thing, but you just have to go out there and want to do it."
Green brushed aside talk of more playing time at small forward, saying, "I can play the 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 -- whatever (coach) Doc (Rivers) puts me at, that's where I'm going to be." He also gushed about the potential for running with Rajon Rondo in transition.
Green has been participating in informal workouts with his teammates with training camp set to open later this month. But it's not just being back on the court that excites him; getting back in the community is important, as well.
"I had a lot of fun (with the basketball clinic). It felt good to get back out here in the community," he said. "I haven't been able to in the past year or so. Now I'm back with the team, able to do this, it was great coming out here with the kids, putting smiles on their faces. Yelling and screaming, but being productive with it in a good way."
One of the messages Green hammered home to the students was taking advantage of their education, something he has a greater appreciation for after finishing up his degree at Georgetown while he rehabbed.
"Education, for me, was big. It allows me to have different avenues, job-wise, because basketball is not forever," Green said. "One message that I wanted to get to them was be serious with your education, it will allow you to do so many different things in this world. With what's going on in Chicago (teacher strikes), hopefully everything gets settled and the kids can go back to school, because I feel like education is very important for the kids. That's the next generation ... their education gets them started, puts them in good routines. Learn, learn, learn, and the sky is the limit for the young kids."