PHILADELPHIA – Already down one All-Star, the Boston Celtics head into tonight’s game against Philadelphia without one of their biggest difference-makers in Marcus Smart.
The 6-foot-4 guard has been ruled out for tonight’s game against the Sixers due to a sprained left ankle injury he suffered in Boston’s 108-100 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday.
He will be replaced in the starting lineup by Aron Baynes.
Celtics said the decision to go with Baynes was in part due to ensuring that Terry Rozier continues coming off the bench where he has been one of Boston’s most productive backups.
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Smart, speaking to reporters this morning, said he actually rolled both of his ankles in the loss to the Bucks.
But as he sat on the sidelines during Boston’s morning shoot-around, only the left ankle was heavily taped.
The absence of Smart only compounds a Celtics team that’s still coming to grips with the loss of Gordon Hayward who underwent successful bony and ligamentous stabilization surgery for the fracture dislocation of his left ankle in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 season-opening loss at Cleveland.
Smart is well aware of the Celtics are still in search of their first win of the season, a fact that in many ways brings about a heightened sense of urgency to get a victory.
However, the Celtics’ handling of Smart is similar to how they dealt with Marcus Morris who had some left knee soreness that will keep him out for at least another week.
“It’s a long season, so we just want to make sure I’m 100 percent before we risk anything. It’s the third game into the season,” Smart said.