Chris Forsberg: Marcus Smart on oblique injury: "Pain level is going down. ... It's not as sore, so that's even better. Mild contact … two weeks ago that was excruciating pain for me. This week it is better. Like I said, day-by-day it continues to get better.” Next step: Live contact.
Adam Himmelsbach: Smart: "Today was a great day. I was able to do some things more and more. This is the next step, the next process to getting me back on the court to be able to do simple things... like driving to the rim and really moving and getting my abdominal and torso muscles going."
Marcus Smart is moving closer to a return from his left oblique tear, and while there’s still uncertainty as to when that will be, another question has entered the picture. With the Celtics’ rotation playing so well in his absence through the first five games/wins of the postseason, one might think he’s concerned about messing that up when he’s ready to go.
“The beauty about me is I’m not too worried about the individual things,” Smart told the Herald as the Celts took the court Tuesday morning to prepare for Game 2 against the Bucks. “So, you know, I’m willing to do whatever and I’m going to do whatever when I come back to keep this momentum going, this flow going. And like they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So right now we’re rocking, and it’s no need to change that. So even if I’m able to come back this series or next series or whenever I do come back, there’s no reason to change what’s working right now.”
And no matter how big or small his role may be, “I’m cool with it,” he said. “I’m here to win games and try to win a championship for my team and the city. I’m not worried about individual stats or anything like that. When you win, everything falls into place, so I’ll just try to do everything I can to help this team win when I come back.”
Despite Smart’s progress, Brad Stevens was hesitant to raise expectations. “I didn’t really see (Smart’s treadmill workout),” Stevens said. “It doesn’t surprise me, because they said he’s making good progress. But it didn’t sound like the timeline was changing all that much from when I last talked to the training staff about it. I really haven’t talked about it in the last probably week or so. “I know he’s not close to playing. I know he’s progressed well, but I don’t know what that means.”
Jay King: Marcus Smart said the pain when he first got injured was like if Mike Tyson hit him with a body blow. Said after he went in, when he crumbled, it felt like he got shot.
Adam Himmelsbach: Smart says it still hurts to get shots up but it feels better than a few days ago. “We’re making progress.” Plans to start jogging in “the next couple weeks.”
If there is a short-term sign of progress, it will be Smart’s presence on the bench for Game 2 tomorrow night against Indiana. He wasn’t able to leave his house on Sunday. “I’ll be at the game tomorrow on the bench. It’ll be good to be able to get on the bench and be out there with those guys,” he said. “I had to watch it not from the bench, in the back at home, things like that, so it was really frustrating to not be out there with those guys at that time. But I’ll be there tomorrow.”
Little wonder that Smart’s next steps will be gradual. “I really need to walk fluidly, breathe more fluidly and just the everyday things like around the house like getting up and things like that,” he said. “I couldn’t get up. The last four or five days I needed help. But the next mark to see where I’m at is probably in two weeks, at the four-week mark and hopefully it’s progressed more than now and hopefully I can start running or jogging by then and hopefully shooting a basketball, so that’s my next mark and that’s what I’m trying to get to.”
The advice of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, who both missed the 2018 playoffs to injury, counts for even more. “Oh man, they’ve been huge, just really talking to me,” said Smart. “You’re not alone. The team’s here for you. Just showering me with love and encouragement. Obviously they’re devastated that I’m not out there, but really keeping me in my right mind, sane. Being able to get on the court is the way I was able to deal with a lot of things that caused frustration. Not being able to do that now is adding onto it. So it’s good getting that advice now.”
Jay King: Danny Ainge said the Celtics thought Marcus Smart’s injury was a hip pointer until MRI yesterday: “That’s a bummer.” Joked: “Maybe Terry will have some fun now.
Chris Forsberg: Terry Rozier on Marcus Smart injury: “Obviously, it’s tough seeing it but I feel like I’m more important to the series now. I’m more needed. Obviously, I’m going to have to step up. I’m gonna be ready for it.”
Chris Forsberg: Celtics release statement saying Smart suffered a "partial avulsion of his left oblique abdominal muscle off of his iliac crest.” Return to action timeline is 4-6 weeks. pic.twitter.com/9zZhT6iLHm
Adam Himmelsbach: Per sources, Marcus Smart was to undergo an MRI yesterday but the pain was too severe. He had one this afternoon instead that revealed a significant oblique injury. Return timeline is unclear, but he is expected to miss at least the first round of the playoffs, as @Adrian Wojnarowski said.
Adam Himmelsbach: Stevens says Tatum and Smart trending upward but both still sore. Tatum further along than Smart.
Not only did the Celtics lose to the Orlando Magic at TD Garden Sunday night, 116-108, but Boston also lost guard Marcus Smart and forward Jayson Tatum to injuries. Smart sustained a left oblique strain, a source tells ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, though coach Brad Stevens called it a bruise. Tatum has a left shin contusion.
Boston eventually called a timeout, and Smart limped to the bench -- only to convince the training staff that he was all right, and could stay in the game. But after the Celtics had the ball for one offensive possession -- a possession where Smart was clearly moving gingerly -- he called for the bench to replace him as he limped back on defense before falling to the ground, holding his side. "He felt like it was spasming on that second trip down the court," Stevens said. Smart would eventually get to his feet and hobble to the locker room with help from the trainers. "We'll see what that looks like tomorrow," Stevens said. "He was a little sore, but was walking around, which was good, in the locker room."
Brian Robb: Rozier and Theis are out due to illness tonight. Tatum (shoulder) and Smart (illness) are expected to play, per Celtics.
Jay King: Marcus Smart officially out against the Nets, per the Celtics. PJ Dozier has been recalled from the Red Claws with Boston's starting backcourt out.
Chris Mannix: Marcus Smart tells @The Vertical he experienced more soreness than usual in his injured thumb tonight, due to the positioning of the splint protecting it. Says he will adjust it before the next game. "I'm not worried about it," Smart tells Y!
Jay King: Marcus Smart said he felt "no soreness" in his thumb after Game 5. "My body's more sore than my thumb is so that's a good sign as well."
Chris Forsberg: Celtics 92, Bucks 87 Al Horford 22 points, 14 rebounds. Marcus Smart 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists in his first game in six weeks. Celtics up 3-2 going back to Milwaukee.
Chris Forsberg: Marcus Smart checks in for the first time since March 11. Garden reacts accordingly.
Jared Weiss: Brad Stevens explains Marcus Smart's pregame workout: "It was more of a jog through, put a body on people. Those types of things. (Alex) Barlow was the main guy and, I mean, anybody in here can beat Barlow. Getting a little physical. Maybe not Scal."
Scott Souza: #Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Marcus Smart has no minute restriction because of thumb, but that he "won't play 35 minutes tonight" because he's been out six weeks.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he will have his surgically repaired right thumb evaluated by a doctor in New York on Tuesday, and that he could then be cleared for a return to game action. Smart said that if he is cleared, he believes he will able to play in Game 6 against the Bucks on Thursday. “Right now that’s the plan,” Smart said Sunday, before the Celtics’ 104-102 loss in Game 4 of their opening-round series. “We’re still on the same track. I’ve been doing everything but contact, so once I get the [go-ahead] and start doing contact, I’m ready for game action.”
“I think the thumb, the surgery did its job,” he said. “Thumb is holding up well. I feel ready. I feel strong enough to get back out there. I’m just waiting on the OK.” Smart tore a tendon in his right thumb when he was chasing a loose ball during the Celtics’ March 11 game against the Pacers. He underwent surgery a few days later and the Celtics said he was expected to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.
Tom Westerholm: Smart says the shooting splint feels “real comfortable.” “It feels like nothing’s there."
Gary Washburn: Marcus Smart was at BMO Bradley Center today working out with some of his teammates in an informal session. #Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Smart could return for a potential Game 7 next week.
Scott Souza: #Celtics Brad Stevens on Marcus Smart: He's working on lower body and conditioning as much as he can now. Earlier I've been told he can return is April 27. We are still a ways away from that and a lot of games away from that. Don't know if that timeline holds.
Smart called his torn ligament “fixed,” but said he still needs to rebuild the muscles around his thumb before returning to the court. He didn't entirely rule out a return before Game 7 of the first round, but the current plan calls for another evaluation almost two weeks from now to decide the next step. Smart's return, whenever it comes, would push the Celtics to another level, especially on the defensive end where he gives more teeth to an already fierce bite. With Kyrie Irving set to miss the entire playoff run, the Celtics have a greater need now for Smart's pick-and-roll playmaking, as well.
"Today was the first day with the new splint on to actually get out here and do something. So the thumb felt well," said Smart, who underwent surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament on March 16. "We're on track for [a return in the] next three weeks, possibly Game 7 of the first round, [but] definitely second round. So we're on the right path."
Smart's return would be a needed boost for a young Celtics team. The team set a six- to eight-week timeline after his surgery. "I've got hopes," Smart said. "We're very optimistic. But the last thing we want to do is get out there and rush anything and we're back to square one. So right now the timetable is still the same. Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks, things change and we can move it up earlier."
Marcus Smart could be ready to play in a little more than two weeks. The question is whether the Celtics still will be playing. Celts coach Brad Stevens confirmed an ESPN report that the guard is doing well as he comes back from right thumb surgery. Smart saw a specialist in New York on Monday and returned to Boston to continue his rehab. “I think from everything that I’ve been told, he’ll be re-evaluated middle of next week,” Stevens said. “The April 27 date is the earliest that I’ve heard that he could be back. So we’ll cross our fingers and see.”
Marcus Smart, who has been sidelined since mid-March after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, is reportedly progressing through his post-surgery rehab as well as anyone could have hoped for. According to coach Brad Stevens, the fourth-year guard could be back on the court before the month of April is over. “From everything I’ve been told, he’ll be re-evaluated in the middle of next week,” Stevens told members of the media ahead of shootaround at Georgetown University prior to the Celtics' matchup against the Washington Wizards. “April 27 is the earliest he could be back, so we’ll cross our fingers and see.”
Celtics: #NEBHInjuryReport: Marcus Smart’s hand will be re-evaluated next week, per Brad Stevens. He could possibly return by April 27.
Bill Doyle: Brad Stevens doesn't expect Marcus Smart back anytime soon. "Again, it was six to eight weeks from surgery with a splint before he resumes basketball activities which is a big difference from playing in a playoff game."
Adam Himmelsbach: According to a league source, Celtics guard Marcus Smart is scheduled to have his right thumb reevaluated by doctors next week, at which time an updated timetable for his return could become more clear. As of now, conference semifinals remain the most likely possibility.
Mark Murphy: Stevens not taking it for granted that either Irving or Smart will be back: "There’s a big difference between (basketball activity) and playing, so we don’t know when we’re going to have those guys back."
Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he's confident he'll be back on the court for the postseason after undergoing thumb surgery last week. Smart suffered a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right shooting hand while diving to the floor in a game against the Indiana Pacers earlier this month. A hand specialist in New York advised immediate surgery with hopes that Smart might be able to return even quicker than the six- to eight-week timeline the team announced after surgery. "I am confident [I'll be back for the playoffs]," Smart said Monday night, his right arm completely wrapped, at his annual bowling fundraiser for his YounGameChanger Foundation. "I had one of the top [hand] doctors do it. The surgery was a success. Like she told me, you might as well go on and get it now. The quicker you can get it, the quicker the recovery.
Chris Forsberg: Is Marcus Smart confident he’ll be back in playoffs? “I am confident ... I’m real real real excited and eager to get back out there, whenever that is. Hopefully sooner than later.” It was Smart and Hayward working out together today in Waltham. “I got a workout partner.”
Scott Souza: #Celtics Marcus Smart said timetable is 6-8 weeks in thumb. Tore ligaments completely. Was told would be out longer the longer he waited on surgery so that's why he did it as soon as possible to be back for playoffs.
Scott Souza: #Celtics Marcus Smart said he was "scared" when first told of tear that injury would be season-ending, but now confident team will last long enough in playoffs for him to get back.
May 22, 2022 | 7:42 pm EDT Update
Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler (knee) intends to play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics on Monday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The six-time All-Star is being listed as questionable for Monday. Miami is also listing Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Tyler Herro (groin), P.J. Tucker (knee), Max Strus (hamstring) and Gabe Vincent (hamstring) as questionable.
May 22, 2022 | 5:43 pm EDT Update
Since these bench decorum issues generally have been resolved after the league intervenes, technical fouls have not been used a deterrent, and the league does not plan to start issuing techs during the conference finals. However, the topic will be discussed in the offseason, and the league will explore ways to address bench decorum during games in real time, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.