PHOTO: Brad Stevens flies to Indiana to visit sick former player

The photo above is from the wife of former Butler big man Andrew Smith.

Smith, who had been playing pro ball in Lithuania in recent months, was forced to go on hiatus due to a diagnosis that changed his life. He has non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The disease, as noted by the National Cancer Institute, can have many different forms despite falling under one name.

The specifics of Smith's situation we don't know, but we do know he's undergoing treatment and is back in his hometown of Zionsville, Ind., for the time being.

And upon getting word of Smith's condition, his former coach and current Celtics foreman Brad Stevens made a quick trip out to Indiana to check in. Pretty great move. Stevens stopped in on Tuesday, making time between a Monday road game in Milwaukee and a Wednesday home game against San Antonio.

As the Indianapolis Star notes, this kind of move isn't a first-time thing for Stevens.

It was just this past summer when Stevens, three days after accepting the Celtics head coaching position, turned up in Connersville, Ind. to honor a promise he'd made to Matt Howard's father.
Smith had began playing for the Eurocup team, the Neptunas, in September. Since returning to Indianapolis, Smith has started treatment to combat the cancer. His return to the Neptunas -- or professional basketball at all, for that matter -- remains uncertain until the treatment is complete..

Smith was part of both Butler teams that made the 2010 and 2011 national title games. Here's to a safe and speedy recovery. Hopefully Smith can one day soon be the one to surprise Stevens by making an appearance in Boston.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his eighth season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics,... Full Bio

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