Gavitt, the Celtics' chief of basketball operations, was almost smiling as he announced that Bird was placed on the injured list because of a sore back. Bird, who missed his fourth game Monday, will miss at least four more.
Why did Gavitt look so relieved?
"We got a good diagnosis on Larry -- an encouraging diagnosis," Gavitt said. "And Larry's outlook is very positive right now . . . I think we're encouraged that he's encouraged."
The diagnosis was made by Dr. Alexander Wright, who had performed surgery on Bird's back in June. Wright examined Bird Monday and determined Bird's current problem is not serious and is completely unrelated to the surgery.
"Larry has an inflamed facet joint that is the result of trauma -- a couple of falls he had," Gavitt said. "His treatment is a combination of medication and rest."
Now that Bird has a grip on his physical condition, he must get a grip on his mental condition, Gavitt said.