Eye injury won't prevent Smart from playing vs. Bucks


Eye injury won't prevent Smart from playing vs. Bucks

BOSTON – Clinging to a 95-93 lead with the ball, there were more than a few Boston Celtics fans cringing when the ball left Marcus Smart’s hands with time winding down.

The shot was short – well short – of the rim, but a hustling Jae Crowder was in place for the rebound and put it in for a lay-up.

Smart had a legit reason for the missed shot – he literally couldn’t see the rim.

The 6-foot-4 guard suffered a cut above his right eye that was bleeding at the time he shot the ball.

“Next thing I know I’m running down the court, blood rushing down into my eye,” Smart said. “So when Jae throws me the ball, all I see is five seconds on the shot clock or something like that. I couldn’t see out my right eye.”

Smart, the second Celtics player in as many games to suffer an eye injury, said it won’t prevent him from being on the floor Friday night against Milwaukee.

This was just the latest quirky injury that the Celtics have had to deal with this season.

For Smart, injuries to the eye requiring stitches is nothing new.

“This is my second time getting stitches in this eye, actually,” he said. “When I was a freshman in high school I had 12, so this makes 16 in this eye. And I had six in the other eye. I’m a stitches’ magnet.”

Smart says the injury won’t require him to wear goggles upon his return to the floor on Friday.

But he doesn’t believe the same is true for Turner, who did not play in Wednesday’s game.

“So that’ll be an interesting sight to see,” Smart said. “But I’m Okay.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said that Turner would participate in a light, non-contract practice on Thursday and depending on how that went he would potentially play on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Stevens said he was not sure if a condition of Turner’s return to action will be him needing to wear protection goggles.

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

When is a setback not a setback?

When Danny Ainge says, "You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," Ainge told the Boston Herald over the weekend. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it - or say it that way.

The Celtics president of basketball operations, in his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub and simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, used that word when he was describing how Gordon Hayward is coming along in his recovery. 

"He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago," Ainge said on the radio last week. "We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought."

Ainge clarified that to the Herald's Steve Bulpett. 

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness," he said. "It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been adamant that Hayward, recovering from his gruesome leg and ankle injury in the season opener, will not play for the Celtics this season. On Sunday, Stevens, via MassLive.com's Jay King, characterized Stevens' soreness as a "small" issue. 



Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

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Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

© 2018 by The Associated Press