Basketball

Nov. 10, 1988

There was never was much reason to question Larry Bird’s sincerity in his public statements, He could weary of formal press briefings and wary of a reporter, but when he said something he meant it.

When the questions turned to his health, and specifically to whether he might need to forfeit some playing time, he tended to shrug them off. He rarely strayed from the standard “I feel fine” to the first and “No” to the second.

But on this occasion, Bird was dealing with something that he knew would have to addressed through surgery. It would be done immediately, in hopes that he might return for a portion of the season, or put off until spring.

The problems with his Achilles turned out to be bone spurs that had to be removed. After playing six games, with no performance within a mile of his high standards, Bird and the team decided it was time to get out the scalpel.

Admitting that he was hurting the team, 2-4 when he stepped away, Bird decided to get the surgery over with. Ultimately, he was out for the rest of the season.

The Celtics finished 42-40, then were swept by Detroit in the first round of the playoffs.