Doc Rivers has surgery on throat

Updated: May 17, 2011, 6:52 PM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers returned to Boston from his Orlando, Fla., home to undergo surgery on Tuesday for a non-cancerous growth on his throat, the team confirmed.

[+] EnlargeDoc Rivers
AP Photo/J Pat CarterDoc Rivers says that coaches are at risk of throat problems due to all the yelling they do during games.

The Celtics said the surgery to remove a benign polyp from Rivers' throat was successful and that the coach has been informed by doctors that he is cancer-free.

"I'm doing great," Rivers said in a statement. "Thank you to everyone for checking in on me. I can't talk for two weeks, which I'm sure makes my players and family extremely happy. On a serious note, I urge all coaches to get their throats checked. We put a lot of stress on our vocal cords during the course of a season."

Rivers' son Austin, the top high school basketball prospect in the nation, who will attend Duke in the fall, tweeted the following after his father's procedure Tuesday: "Please everybody pray for my dad he just got done with his surgery today on his throat! Hope he recovers okay!!"

Rivers, who inked a five-year contract extension with the Celtics last week, underwent a biopsy in mid-October to determine if lesions found on his throat were cancerous. After those test results initially came back negative, Rivers joked about the scare.

"I'm going to be around for a little while, it looks like," Rivers said in October. "I'm sure that disappoints everyone."

Rivers revealed then how, at the urging of former Celtics coach Jim O'Brien, he's undergone annual examinations of his throat and vocal chords for the past three years because of the stress placed on those areas by his profession. Doctors found a concerning spot during an examination, forcing Rivers to undergo the biopsy, which showed the lesions to be non-cancerous.

"Jim O'Brien suggested it two or three years ago and said every coach should do it," said Rivers, who has been spreading the word himself. "I'm glad I did it. I think most coaches should because we yell and use our throat a lot. It makes you more susceptible."

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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