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Celtics' Auerbach improves, remains in hospital

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach was alert and comfortable after being hospitalized earlier this week for an unspecified ailment, a team spokesman said Friday.

The 87-year-old coaching great has been in and out of the hospital over the past month for tests and a successful surgical procedure, Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said. He was readmitted for
an unspecified problem within the last 10 days.

"He is talking and in general much more comfortable," Twiss said Friday. "Each day we see improvement."

Auerbach, the team's president and former coach, was being
treated at an undisclosed hospital in Washington, where he lives.

In a statement posted on the Celtics' Web site, his family expressed "their deepest appreciation for the concern pertaining to the health of their father. Red has been under the weather at
times recently and he has taken steps with his doctor to return to
feeling better."

Auerbach, who turns 88 on Sept. 20, has two daughters, Nancy and
Randy. Auerbach's wife, Dorothy, died in 2000.

Auerbach, who has spent the past 55 seasons with the Celtics,
had health problems before his latest hospitalization. In June, he
was not feeling well enough to attend the Celtics' annual draft
party in Waltham. The next month, he was unable to attend his
weeklong summer basketball camp, which has been in operation for more than four decades. This year, it was held at the University of
New Hampshire.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native joined the Celtics organization in
1950 when he became the franchise's third head coach. After
stepping down as coach in 1966, he served as general manager,
president and vice chairman of the board.

As coach, he won nine NBA titles with the Celtics, a record
later tied by Phil Jackson. Auerbach posted a 938-479
regular-season record, including three seasons with the Washington
Capitols and one with the Tri-Cities Hawks before joining the
Celtics.

He once held the record for most wins as an NBA coach, a mark
now held by Lenny Wilkens, and was elected to the Basketball Hall
of Fame in 1968.