Marcus Smart said Thursday that he is likely to return to the Boston Celtics’ lineup on Saturday. The 2021-22 Defensive Player of the Year missed Boston’s 109-86 victory in Game 2 of its second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday because of a quad contusion.

“Strong likelihood that I should be back for Game 3,” Smart said. 

Smart said that “some of the swelling has gone down,” but he is “still dealing with some.” He said that the shoulder stinger he suffered in Game 1 is not an issue. 

“It’s just the quad, the fluid,” Smart said. He took a hit “closer to the knee area in the quad, so a lot of the fluid went to the knee.”

Smart has spent the past few days doing “treatment and exercises to do to help strengthen the quad and get the blood flowing and things like that,” he said. On Thursday, he tested it out at the Celtics’ practice facility.  

“Felt OK,” Smart said. “A little sore still. Like I said, I still have some fluid, so it’s still restricting my movement a little bit. And we just go from there. They’re doing everything they can and I’m doing everything on my part on my end to get back on the court.”

In January, Smart missed six games because of a quad injury. 

“It’s literally the exact same one in the exact same spot,” he said. “It’s just re-aggravating the same injury that I’ve been dealing with. And as we all know, injuries like that, they kind of linger.”

Boston coach Ime Udoka said that the team will know more about Smart’s status on Friday, based on how his body reacts to the work he did on Thursday. 

“Obviously he looks better today than he did just moving around, walking around the last few days when he couldn’t go,” Udoka said.

Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, April 7, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

In Game 2, the Celtics started Derrick White in Smart’s place, increased Payton Pritchard’s minutes and went with a seven-man rotation. Smart said he “loved” how the team responded after losing the series opener, praising the “phenomenal” and “awesome” job that Al Horford and Grant Williams did against Giannis Antetokounmpo defensively. 

It was “very difficult,” he said, to watch from the sideline. “I was very antsy that whole day. Couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t even take a nap.” Smart said that he is doing everything that he can to be ready to play, but he has to listen to his body. “Anybody who knows me understands that if I’m going to miss a game, especially a playoff game, something’s really gotta be wrong with me.”

Courtesy: CBS Sports


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