BOSTON – Marcus Smart is out for the remainder of the regular season, but there’s a very good chance he’ll be available at some point in the Boston Celtics' postseason quest.
The 6-foot-4 guard underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb which is expected to keep him sidelined for six to eight weeks.
“It’s a tough deal for Marcus,” coach Brad Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “Marcus has been an incredible player for us all year. He’s meant a lot to us.”
If we’re working from today, that would put Smart’s return to the floor most likely near the end of the first round or early in the second.
While Smart’s statistics don’t jump off the page, there’s no getting around the impact he has made on this team this season.
After missing several games after punching a picture frame in Los Angeles, the Celtics struggled in his absence. Upon his return right after the All-Star break, the C's began playing some of their best basketball of the season.
But as important as Smart has been to the team this season, Boston has been a “Next Man Up” squad all season, so the Celtics are well-versed on how to make up for the loss of key players.
Look for extended minutes going forward for Terry Rozier and Abdel Nader, two of the team’s healthier perimeter players.
Boston’s Semi Ojeleye is likely to see his role increase as well with Smart out as well as Daniel Theis who recently underwent season-ending surgery on his torn meniscus injury suffered in Boston’s 99-97 loss to Indiana.
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“We’re going to be in the process of really looking at ourselves and redistribute responsibility on our team without guys going outside of what they do best,” Stevens said.
Smart appeared in 54 games this season, averaging 10.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. He has a defensive rating of 99.6 which ranks fifth in the league among players who averaged at least 28 minutes played per game.