Bird, McHale Returning from Surgery

October 5, 1991
Celtics physician Arnold Scheller made it simple and understandable: "Larry has the green light. Kevin has the yellow light."

Thus, Larry Bird, who underwent back surgery in June, was expected to join his teammates in drills last night in the first session of training camp. Kevin McHale, who had ankle surgery in July, was not as close. 

"I think Kevin overtrained," Scheller said. "When he tried to take it to new levels, he experienced new symptoms. We'll do some more testing."

McHale said he was targeting Opening Night (Nov. 1) as his Fit to Play date. And he had a sense of humor about his malady.

"Larry has major back surgery and I have minor ankle surgery and he's ready to go before I am," he said.

McHale will ease it through training camp, but neither he nor the coaching staff seems concerned about that.

"I don't think he really needs training camp, anyway," said assistant coach Jon Jennings.

Excess baggage

John Bagley showed up, and reports that he dropped up to 20 pounds proved to be, er, erroneous. Instead, he was near 220, which is more than the Celtics would like him to be. Maybe Scheller could perform a weight transplant with Bagley and Anderson Hunt . . . Vinnie Johnson was on a lot of people's minds. Both Celtics CEO Dave Gavitt and Johnson's agent, Mitch Frankel, said yesterday they expected something to break in a week to 10 days. "I think Vinnie is partial to Boston and I think he'd like to play here," said Gavitt. Frankel said, "Hopefully, by the end of next week, we'll have a clearer picture of where things are."

Health means wealth

The one undeniable theme that ran through yesterday's Q & A: If the Celtics are healthy, they like their chances . . . Gavitt said the team still would like to add a young power forward or center for developmental purposes . . . Is Robert Parish peeved about not being asked to play in the Olympics? "I didn't think they'd ask me, anyway," he said. "They got two great centers and I don't think they need a 38-year-old taking up space on the bench. Young players deserve to have the chance." Asked about best buddy Bill Laimbeer's alleged petition drive, Parish said, "Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even Bill."

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