BOSTON (CBS) – With a day off on Tuesday, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens took advantage of his free time and went back home to Indiana to visit a former Butler player of his who is currently battling cancer.

Stevens visited with Andrew Smith, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma just a few weeks ago. Smith played for Stevens at Butler the last four years, and was playing professional ball in Lithuania prior to his diagnosis. He is now back home in Zionsville, Ind. for treatment.

Stevens said his decision to make a quick trip home to visit Smith, who played in the 2010 and 2011 NCAA title games with Butler, was a no-brainer.

“Any time you have somebody that you really care about that’s struggling with something, I think it’s paramount to any of us that we would go and find a way to get out there and see that person,” Stevens said following the Celtics loss to the Spurs on Wednesday night. “It worked out with his treatments, the timing of those, and with us being in Milwaukee and being off on Tuesday. It made a lot of sense to do it; I just tried to get over there as soon as I could.”

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“You hate to see anybody go through that, let alone a 23-year-old,” continued Stevens. “But he is a tough cookie, man. You talk about different strengths of people and all the things that we talk about with regard to talent, his toughness level is as high as it comes. I have no doubt that he’ll kick this thing to the curb.”

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Smith’s wife, Samantha, tweeted out the following photo of Stevens’ visit:


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