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Ainge suffers minor heart attack

Posted by Marc J. Spears, Globe Staff  April 16, 2009 06:16 PM

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The Celtics have confirmed that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge suffered a minor heart attack early this morning. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Here is the team's official statement:

Danny Ainge is recovering at Massachusetts General Hospital after having a minor heart attack. He is recovering nicely. Mr. Ainge is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.

Boston television station WCVB Channel 5, which broke the story earlier this evening, reported that the 50-year-old Ainge woke up this morning suffering from chest pains. He was immediately taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where doctors inserted a stent in heart to clear an artery that was completely clogged.

Celtics managing partner Stephen Pagliuca told the Globe that Ainge got to the hospital quickly -- something that is critical when a heart attack is in progress -- and is "recovering nicely."

"I saw him at about 3:30 p.m. today," Pagliuca said. "I spoke to him and he was already joking about recovering and Eddie House breaking his record [for 3-point percentage in a season] putting him over the top. He was in good spirits. He was with his wife, Michelle, at the hospital. He was in good spirits."

Pagliuca said Ainge, the NBA Executive of the Year last season, probably won't be at Game 1 of the Celtics' first-round playoff series tomorrow night against the Bulls. Ainge did not attend the Celtics' regular-season finale Wednesday night against the Wizards because he was feeling ill.

"We're very grateful that Danny is progressing," said Pagliuca, noting that it was a tough day. "He will bounce back quickly. Danny is a warrior.

"I'm just very glad he's OK and he's in great care. We hope to see him back soon because he's a big part of Celtics Nation."

Said Celtics guard Ray Allen via text message, "Our hearts go out to him and his family. We all wish him a speedy recovery."

A guard who played on two championship teams during his 7 1/2 seasons with the Celtics, Ainge returned to the franchise in 2003 when he was named executive director of basketball operations.

His bold trades for Allen and fellow All-Star Kevin Garnett were major reasons the Celtics won their first NBA championship last season since 1985-86, when Ainge was a member of the starting backcourt.

Chad Finn of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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