Smart doesn't think bruised ribs will keep him out of Game 3

Smart doesn't think bruised ribs will keep him out of Game 3

ATLANTA – Another playoff game, another Boston Celtic is hurt.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart suffered a bruised rib injury in Tuesday’s 89-72 Game 2 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

The 6-foot-4 guard said he will undergo additional tests when the team returns to Boston, but doesn’t appear to be overly concerned that it will force him to miss any games.

“I doubt there’s a chance I won’t play,” Smart said. “As of right now I will be playing in Game 3.”

Following the game, Smart received treatments from the team’s medical staff but said afterwards that he was still having some pain.

Smart said the injury occurred when he took a shot from Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore.

“I went up straight to block a shot,” Smart said. “I just remember it felt like I got hit by a boxer with a body shot. I just went to the ground. Bazemore’s knee just hit me in the right spot.”

Smart added, “It hurts a little bit but not too much. That’s why I think I’ll be playing in Game 3.”

Even if he is able to play, it remains to be seen if he’ll be at the top of his game health-wise for a Celtics team that’s already trying to get by with key players at less than their best.

Jae Crowder’s high ankle sprain is still requiring him to receive twice-a-day treatments, but even with those it’s clear that the injury is affecting his play at both ends of the floor.

Avery Bradley (right hamstring) is likely out for the rest of the series and Kelly Olynyk (right shoulder) did not play in Game 2 and his status is very much up in the air going forward.

And now there’s Smart whose health to some degree is questionable heading into a pivotal, must-win Game 3 matchup at the TD Garden on Friday.

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on he knee looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how and if Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves! on Tursday the Pats made deals with LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom Curran discuss how despite these moves, the Patriots should still be in search of a left tackle.

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

File Photo

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

BOSTON – We live in a world filled with success stories that came about by accident. 

The invention of the microwave oven.

Post-It notes.

The creation of potato chips.

The Boston Celtics’ game-winning play against Oklahoma City earlier this week qualfies; a play in which there were multiple miscues made by the Celtics prior to Marcus Morris’ game-winning shot. 


All these Celtics injuries have made Brad Stevens a mad scientist of sorts with some unusual lineups that may be on display tonight against the guard-centric Portland Trail Blazers. 

In Boston’s 100-99 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, we saw Stevens utilize a lineup with Al Horford and Greg Monroe, in four different stints.

Monroe, who had 17 points off the bench - the most he has scored as a Celtic -  enjoyed playing with Horford.

“Al’s so smart. He’s seen it all in this league,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s an all-star. Very cerebral player, unselfish. So it’s easy playing with him. He can space, drive, make plays. I feel like I can make plays, driving. It’s fun playing with him. I look forward to getting out there with him more.”

Horford had similar praise for playing with Monroe.

“Coach (Brad Stevens) made a great move bringing Greg back in, in the fourth, playing us together,” Horford said. “He made some great plays, passing the ball and just … timely plays. It’s one of those things, the more we play with each other the more comfortable we’ll get. I thought it was very positive.”

Monroe’s role has become significantly more important with the season-ending injury (torn meniscus, left knee) to Daniel Theis. And his ability to play well with various lineups will only improve Boston’s chances of weathering this latest storm of injuries which comes on the eve of the playoffs. 

And while there’s a certain amount of pleasure all players take in being on a playoff-bound team, Monroe understands better than most NBA veterans just how special it is to be headed towards the postseason.

In his eighth season, this will only be Monroe’s second time participating in the playoffs. 

The first time? 

That was last year, with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“This is what everybody plays for, I hope,” Monroe said. “This is what I play for, to get into the postseason, make a run. It’s the best situation. I’ve been through a lot in my career, this year. I’m grateful. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

And he has done that lately.

Monroe comes into tonight’s game having scored in double figures each of the last four games, a season high for the 6-foot-11 center. 

Having spent most of his NBA career watching instead of participating in the playoffs, Monroe is out to prove that he can in fact be a significant contributor to a team that’s postseason-bound.

“For sure. You have to have a little chip, a little fire, at least in my eyes,” Monroe said. “I’ve never doubted myself. It’s about being between those lines and being the best player I can be. That’s what I’m focused on.”