BOSTON – After having missed 18 straight games with a left knee injury, Marcus Smart looked no worse for wear in his return to the floor on Sunday while playing limited minutes.
But it’ll take more than one game for head coach Brad Stevens to feel good about allowing the second-year guard to play anything close to the minutes he logged prior to getting hurt.
Stevens said Smart’s playing time will still be limited in tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s more so just because if he runs his body at 30, 35 minutes, it’s not going to be productive short or long-term,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
In Boston’s 100-91 win on Dec. 27, Smart came off the bench to score six points and grab three rebounds while playing 13 minutes.
Smart didn’t look overly fatigued during his court time on Sunday, a good sign that his conditioning may not be that far off from where it was prior to the Nov. 20 against Brooklyn.
“We have to get him back into playing shape by playing, by practicing, just continue to give him the spots where he can play,” Stevens said.
Stevens felt good about the minutes Smart logged on Sunday.
“You can probably go a little higher,” Stevens said.
But if you’re expecting to see him play anywhere close to the 29.1 minutes he averaged prior to the injury, that’s not happening … for now, anyway.
“He won’t play 30 (minutes against the Lakers) by any means,” Stevens said.