NBA rumors: Marcus Smart ruled out for Game 4 due to sprained ankle

Mark Murphy: Celtics announce that Marcus Smart (sprained right ankle) is out. Robert Williams (knee) and Jayson Tatum (shoulder impingement) are available.

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Tim Reynolds: Ime Udoka says he's good after being sick yesterday, and confirms that Derrick White left today for the birth of his child. Will play Saturday. On Horford: "Al is still doubtful." Tests pending. On Smart: "Marcus is looking better." Will try it pregame before final decision.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Smart underwent an MRI today on that right foot and the imaging returned clean, sources tell ESPN. There’s hope he’ll be ready for Game 1 and Celtics will see how it feels on Tuesday in Miami.
Jared Weiss: Marcus Smart: "Strong likelihood I should be back for Game 3. We're just dealing with the last part of it getting that restriction of the knee and the joints so I'll be able to bend it. Once that goes away, I should be back to myself."
Brian Robb: Ime Udoka to @ZoandBertrand on Marcus Smart: "We’re anticipating he’ll be good to go for Game 3."
Jay King: Ime Udoka said Marcus Smart "took a few hits." He believes the quad bothered Smart more than the shoulder, but "he's going to play through a lot." "He's getting iced down now and I'm assuming he'll be OK."
John Karalis: Al Horford (back) and Jayson Tatum (knee) are out tonight. Marcus Smart is probable with a right ankle sprain. Robert Williams and Nik Stauskas remain out as well
Chris Forsberg: Celtics say both Marcus Smart (ankle sprain) and Robert Williams (calf tightness) are DOUBTFUL vs. Pistons. Still seem encouraging that Smart isn’t a full-blown out after rolling ankle.
Gary Washburn: Smart is being carried to the locker room and putting no pressure on the left leg. He's done for the game because he won't be able to shoot FTs. #Celtics #76ers
Keith Smith: Marcus Smart was asked if his right hand is sore: "Yeah, it gets like this ever since the picture frame incident. There's still some glass in there. The doctors said it would cause more issues to take it out, so I still have glass in there. Sometimes I can't really feel my hand."
Marc Stein: The Celtics just issued a five-tweet injury report for their Christmas Day game at Milwaukee. Among the key updates: Al Horford (health and safety protocols) and Marcus Smart (left hip contusion) are now questionable. More from me: marcstein.substack.com
Keith Smith: Celtics injury report is lengthy for the Minnesota game on Saturday afternoon: Brown, Smart, Thompson, Walker, R. Williams - All OUT Fournier and Tatum - both probable.
Jared Weiss: Stevens' Celtics injury update: - Walker under the weather but "Hopefully will be able to go tomorrow." - Brown is doubtful for tomorrow with shoulder bursitis. - Smart is back - Fournier is out - Rob Williams "Tried to do a little bit more but won't be able to go tomorrow."
The Celtics are 5-6 without Smart in the lineup since his injury, and he would presumably miss seven more games through the end of the first half of the season on March 4.
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart is expected to miss one to two weeks with a Grade 1 left calf strain, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Smart underwent an MRI on Sunday after leaving in the fourth quarter of Boston's 96-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday with the injury.
Shams Charania: Positive news for the Celtics: First-team All-Defensive guard Marcus Smart has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 left calf strain, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. He will miss some time, but sigh of relief for all.
Adam Himmelsbach: Can confirm that Marcus Smart has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 calf strain, as @Shams Charania said. Best-case scenario for Boston.
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Marcus Smart will get an MRI on his left leg Sunday after the guard was helped off the court following an awkward landing while fighting for a rebound in the fourth quarter of a 96-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. Smart, who entered the game averaging 13.2 points and 6.0 assists -- both career highs -- didn't appear to land on anyone's foot when he came down in front of Boston's bench with 10 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. But, after a moment, Smart grabbed the back of his left leg and collapsed to the ground, writhing in pain.
"Yeah, everybody was concerned with his health," Celtics star Jaylen Brown said after the game. "And he just, trying to do our best to redirect that energy, because when one guy goes down, we've got to step up. "Marcus is essential to our team, man -- he's been great. Whether the numbers show it or not, Marcus has been a leader on this team; he's been somebody that has been looking to get guys the ball in the right spots, including me. So to have him go down in the middle of the game like that, definitely had everybody concerned. Hopefully, the MRI is negative and we get him and we can get some wins on the road."
Mark Murphy: Marcus Smart is possible for a return tomorrow against Toronto. Brad Stevens: "Making the right strides. He came in yesterday, did some full-court stuff, looked good. And then we’ll be able to assess that tomorrow."
Jared Weiss: Marcus Smart says he is feeling a lot better and he looks noticeably improved even from Wednesday. Eyes are no longer half open and he is moving pretty well out there.
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart had a simple Christmas wish: to wake up and open his eyes without discomfort. After he dealt with a diabolical case of viral conjunctivitis that caused an infection in both of his eyes -- an ailment that, including Boston's Christmas Day game here against the Toronto Raptors, has cost him seven straight games -- that was enough to make Smart smile Wednesday morning.
"Hell," he said when asked to describe what the past few weeks have been like, while sitting in the visitors locker room here at Scotiabank Arena. "I thought I was going to go blind for a while. I think it was the worst case of viral conjunctivitis that they've seen. So, basically, I was a guinea pig to see how to handle this if it ever happens again to anybody else.”
Marcus Smart: "I actually have a picture that I showed the guys. It was pretty gross. I was bleeding tears every time they did it, for like a day. They did that for about four days straight. The first day was probably the worst, just because it built up so much that it started to scab under my eyelids, and they had to open the scab and then pull it out. It felt like they were putting needles in my eyes. They were using tweezers and vise grips to hold my eyes and actually get into my eyelids, the bottom and top.”
Clevis Murray: Marcus Smart (eye) announced on Twitter he practiced with the team today. It had been multiple weeks since he was on the court. As of yesterday, Stevens noted he was “unlikely” to play on Christmas Day.
John Schuhmann: Marcus Smart will play Saturday vs. Greece. Asked if he would have played Thursday had it been an elimination game, he said, "Definitely." He felt tightness the day after the USA's win over Turkey. "I was just taking more precaution than anything."
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June 26, 2022 | 6:52 am EDT Update

Kevin Durant has not spoken with the Nets in weeks?

Not much of Murdock’s take was optimistic if you’re a Nets fan. Indeed, he referred to the franchise’s current situation as “destruction” in the podcast and suggested perhaps more firmly than other pundits that Durant could indeed leave. “The vision is on the verge of crumbling,” he wrote. “It didn’t have to be this way,” he said, summing up. “This team … and it’s ironic. Kevin came to reconcile relationships, build relationships with his BFF’s and it’s not working out. It’s doing the exact opposite. And you juxtapose that with Golden State winning…” “Now, you have reports that Kyrie is looking elsewhere. I made some calls. Kevin Durant has not talked to the team in weeks. I don’t think Kevin is confident in the front office right now. I don’t know if he’s at the stage of leaving but there’s a big uneasiness from not only from the Kyrie side, but the KD side as well.”
At the center of it, Murdock pointed out multiple times is the Nets relationship with Irving. “His biggest beef is that he feels that the front office didn’t grow to understand Kyrie, whatever that means. I would push back on that when a guy leaves for two weeks at a time … Kyrie earns the lion’s share of the blame. But I think KD believes that ‘hey, you guys didn’t understand this guy. You didn’t try to figure out where he was coming from.’”
Still, Durant believes the Nets didn’t support Irving particularly when they decided not to play him at all in October, after he refused to get vaccinated like all but a handful of NBA players, then brought him back in October. “That’s just how he feels. ‘Hey man, I brought this guy in, him and Kyrie, and the front office didn’t do enough to support him at a time when we needed to support him.”
Moreover, Murdock pointed to the Nets decision to dump Adam Harrington, their long-time assistant coach and director of development, as a big negative for KD. Durant and Harrington go back to KD’s time in Oklahoma City when Harrington was his shooting coach. “And here’s another thing, KOC, the Nets got rid of Adam Harrington. who’s very close to Kevin. He’s one of Kevin’s guys. And that had a big ripple effect on how Kevin feels about this right now. He’s still in this figure-it-out mode but there is some fire to that smoke that he’s kind of reevaluating where he stands with this.”
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving won a ring together before, and it may not have been their last … ’cause Matt Barnes tells TMZ Sports the Lakers could be smelling champagne if Kyrie Irving joins L.A. Matt — who played for the Purple and Gold for two seasons — spoke about the recent Irving rumors out at LAX this week … and he told us if Uncle Drew ends up with the Lakers, it could result in the franchise’s 18th championship.

Hawks interested in Deandre Ayton, but wouldn't pay max money

The Hawks could still pursue Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton in free agency. Sources tell The Athletic that the Hawks’ interest in the 23-year-old would be contingent on landing him for less than a max contract. That may not be an option, as the Pistons, who have the cap space for a max contract, are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of Ayton in free agency.