Stars, studs and duds: Celtics ready to step up with Smart injured

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics ready to step up with Smart injured

BOSTON – When the preseason starts, there are a slew of goals that players and coaches set for themselves.

But there’s only one that they absolutely, positively want to see come to fruition: stay healthy.

The Celtics came oh-so-close to making that happen, only to see one of their core guys this season – Marcus Smart – suffer a left ankle sprain in the second quarter of Boston’s 121-96 loss to the Knicks.

A league source told CSNNE.com that Smart was likely to be out for at least two weeks with the injury.

Following the game, head coach Brad Stevens talked about how Smart’s injury didn’t appear initially to be one that would keep him out for an extended period of time like previous ankle and knee injuries he has suffered since joining the Celtics.

“Early indications are that it looks like hopefully not too long term,” Stevens said. “We don’t know what that means; we’ll have a better idea in the next couple of days.”

This is the first NBA training camp for Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown who acknowledged the impact that Smart has made on him and his fellow teammates.

“He’s one of those type of players you want to play with; you don’t want to play against,” Brown said. “Marcus brings crazy energy to our team, crazy toughness to our team.”

Celtics big man Jordan Mickey had similar comments about Smart.

“He’s our bulldog,” Mickey said. “He’ll guard the best guards they have. He’ll even guard the four-man (power forward). He’s a guy that doesn’t stop; he’ll give you all he has every night.

Mickey added, “him with the ankle sprain hurts us, but that’s why we have other guys ready to step up and play a role.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday’s game.



Terry Rozier

The more he plays, the more you have to love what he’s bringing to the floor. He had 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting in just 14 minutes of court time. And with Marcus Smart out for at least a couple weeks, look for Rozier to be an even more integral part of what the Celtics look to do at the start of the season.

Kristaps Porzingis

He was easily the best player New York put on the floor Wednesday night, and he has the numbers to back it up. He played just under 23 minutes but still managed to score a game-high 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting with three rebounds and two steals.

Jordan Mickey

Mickey had a solid night scoring the ball as well as on the boards. He finished with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.



Jaylen Brown

Brown has had better shooting games (5-for-14), but that still didn’t prevent him from making his presence felt. He led all Celtics with 17 points scored and finished the preseason averaging a team-high 23 minutes per game.

Sasha Vujacic

There were other Knicks players who had better numbers on Wednesday than Vujacic, but his play was instrumental in New York taking control in the first half and never relinquishing it. He would finish with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting along with four assists. In addition, he had a game-high plus/minus of +24.



Brandon Jennings

He picked up a pair of fouls early in the first quarter and never seemed to get on track afterwards. Jennings missed all six of his shots from the field but did make three of four free throws to finish with three points. He joined teammate Lance Thomas as the only Knicks players on Wednesday with a negative plus/minus as both finished with a -3 for the game.

Irving's procedure means Celtics may add player via 'hardship roster exception'

Irving's procedure means Celtics may add player via 'hardship roster exception'

With Kyrie Irving undergoing a “minimally invasive procedure” on Saturday, the Boston Celtics may look to add a player via the “hardship roster exception” that only teams that are significantly impacted by injuries, are eligible for. 

MORE - Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

The Celtics won’t have a clear sense of what the timetable will be for Irving’s return until after his procedure is performed. 

But it’s likely to be at least a couple weeks which at the earliest would put Irving’s return just before the playoffs. 

In order to qualify for the NBA’s hardship roster exception, at least four players must miss a minimum of three consecutive games, and later be deemed to be out for an additional two weeks. 

Gordon Hayward (dislocated left ankle) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus, left knee) are out for the season, and Marcus Smart (right thumb) recently underwent surgery that will keep him sidelined for at least another five weeks. 

An independent doctor will determine if the extent of the aforementioned injuries as well as the recovery time for Irving, meet the two-week criteria to be eligible for the hardship roster exception. 

Once that’s determined, Boston will be given a hardship roster exception to use on a player for the remainder of the regular season but won’t be eligible for the postseason. 

If Boston does add a player, look for him to come from the Gatorade League, possibly their G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. 

Boston has a collection of guards who have helped fill the void left by Irving’s absence, but Boston has not been able to address the loss of Daniel Theis. 

Keep an eye on former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 16.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Red Claws this season. 

MORE - Hayward gives update on rehab

Boston has a 45-day cap on the use of its two-way players with the parent team, but that limitation ends tomorrow which means guard/forward Jabari Bird and guard Kadeem Allen can earn the league minimum for every day they are with the Celtics going forward in the regular season. That can provide some depth to a Celtics team that because of injuries, can use every healthy body they can find.


Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

Doctor: Irving could return in 'three to four weeks'

Kyrie Irving could be back on the court in time for the Celtics to begin the playoffs.

Or not.

Irving will have what the Celts are describing as a "minimally invasive procedure" on his injured left knee Saturday. NBC Sports Boston talked to Dr. Christopher Chihlas from Southcoast Health -- who has not examined Irving but is familiar with his type of injury -- about how long Irving may be sidelined.

"A minimally invasive procedure is basically an arthroscopy," said Dr. Chihlas. "His return to play is mostly dependent on what is done . . . If it's just a cleanout, as we're being told, then -- best-case scenario -- we could see him back playing in three to four weeks."

But, he added, "it could be double that . . . depending upon what exactly is found . . . 

"The key here is the patella fracture (which Irving suffered during the 2015 playoffs). My feeling is that he's suffering a bit of the consequence of the patella fracture, which is a fracture into the knee joint . . . [He] may need to have this done periodically to get him through the rest of his career."