Celtics' Stevens skipping game Thurs. to visit ex-Butler player with cancer

Brad Stevens will miss Thursday night's game.   (USATSI)
Brad Stevens will miss Thursday night's game. (USATSI)

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens will miss Thursday night's game vs. the Bulls to be with "a former Butler University" player, the team announced. Celtics Assistant Coach Jay Larranaga will coach in Stevens' place. 

The Boston Globe reports that Stevens is visiting Andrew Smith, who has been battling cancer: 

It is believed that Stevens is visiting former player Andrew Smith, 25, who has been battling cancer in recent years and has been readmitted to an Indianapolis-area hospital. Smith’s family members have been posting on social media to pray for Smith, who played four seasons for Stevens at Butler and participated in two Final Fours. Stevens has spent time with Smith during his battle and the two have kept in constant touch. It is the first game Stevens has missed as Celtics coach. 

Source: Brad Stevens to miss Celtics’ game vs. Bulls - The Boston Globe

It's unclear when Stevens is expected to rejoin the team, given the sensitive nature of Smith's situation. The Celtics (19-16) have lost three of their last four entering Thursday's game vs. the Bulls. 

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Matt Moore's colleagues have been known to describe him as a "maniac" in terms of his approach to covering the NBA, which he has done for CBS Sports since 2010. Moore prides himself on melding reporting,... Full Bio

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