Storyline: Marcus Smart Injury

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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.

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.”
1 month ago via ESPN

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.

Smart could potentially require season-ending surgery, but that’s not a certainty at this point. During a Wednesday afternoon interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zola & Bertrand, Stevens said the guard’s injury situation is more unclear than any of his other hurting teammates. “I would say that at the end of the day, Marcus is going to seek a second opinion, confer with everybody that he’s talked to, and make the right decision from there that he’s comfortable with, that we’re comfortable with, that everybody’s comfortable with,” Stevens said on the radio show.

Marcus Smart, who flew back to Boston after hurting his hand in a team hotel room, has a follow-up appointment scheduled for later this week. “Marcus is doing light work on the bike and obviously nothing with the hand,” Stevens said. “He’s got another appointment on Wednesday to follow up where they will either–from what I’ve been told–tell him what the next steps are as far as how much he can work out, how much he can do. Because he had a pretty significant cut.”

The book is far from closed in the Marcus Smart matter. While the team is said to be satisfied with the explanation behind the Wednesday incident in which he lacerated his right hand, he could still face a fine and/or suspension. According to league sources briefed on the situation, Smart’s story checks out. There was a broken picture frame in the bathroom in his Beverly Hills hotel room, and glass was indeed found in his hand, requiring stitches. The Celtic guard’s anger was apparently raised over pictures posted by a female acquaintance on social media — pictures that have since been deleted.

Stevens did cut his team some slack, noting that Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Marcus Smart haven’t been on the court together at the start of the season, and that does nothing to help team chemistry and rhythm on the court, not to mention spacing. “Losing guys out of our lineups, obviously Jae and Al and Marcus — we haven’t had all three of those guys in one game; those are three of our best defenders. “But the reality is that even with that, even with the idea that one, two, or three of those guys are out at once, that we should be better than we’ve been. I don’t think the group that’s played will necessarily be, especially with the group that we had out last night, I don’t think we’re going to be a top-10 defense. But we can be 12th or 13th, right at the end of the season, that’s for sure.”

Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart resumed on-court basketball activities this week and is trending toward a return later this month or in early January, according to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “Marcus had a really good day [Wednesday],” Ainge told the “Toucher and Rich” program during his weekly call to Boston sports radio 98.5 The Sports Hub. “He got out on the court for the first time and he’s running around and felt good. Barring any setbacks, I think it’s probably looking closer to the end of this month or the beginning of the new year. He looks good, and we’re excited to get him back soon. But I’m not sure exactly when that is. That’s sort of a day-to-day thing, but I’m looking at it more at the end of this month.”
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April 21, 2018 | 1:02 pm EDT Update
Jimmy Butler (12.0 ppg in this series) is dealing with a sore right wrist he refuses to discuss in addition to coming off of knee surgery. “Nobody really cares if you’re nicked up. If you put on that jersey and go out there and play, you’ve got to produce. You’ve got to do what they got you here to do. So 40, 50, 95, 100 [percent], I’m out there playing. Nobody cares if I’m nicked up or not.”
Storyline: Jimmy Butler Injury