The Boston Celtics open the second half of their regular season schedule Thursday night against the surging Brooklyn Nets, and roster reinforcements should be coming soon.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart is not far away from getting back into the lineup. C's head coach Brad Stevens provided an encouraging injury update on Smart during his Wednesday interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak & Bertrand".
"He's going to practice today (Wednesday). I don't know how much live he's going to do. That'll determine the next steps," Stevens explained. "It sounds like he's pretty close to being cleared. So that's a good thing."
The Celtics are confident Smart will be OK when he returns to the court, but it might take him a bit to reach game shape again.
"I think they feel really good about the way that everything has healed and the time that was taken. I think we were very conservative with that, and rightfully so," Stevens said. "With all the games we're playing and them all being backed up, any injury but certainly any muscle injury, you're certainly going to be super cautious with. I think we feel good about that part.
"The biggest thing coming back is he hasn't played -- Jan. 30 was the last time he played -- there's going to be a wind factor. I think when he comes back he'll be limited."
For his part, Smart sounded hopeful he can play Thursday night in Brooklyn.
Smart suffered his calf injury in a loss against the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 30. He's missed the Celtics' last 18 games and the team posted a 9-9 record over that span. The C's not only have missed Smart's elite defense, he's also the team's best passer and provides much-needed scoring depth.
Stevens had another positive injury update.
Second-year swingman Romeo Langford, who's missed the entire 2020-21 season recovering from wrist surgery he had in September, is also close to coming back.
"I think he'll go through live practice today," Stevens said of Langford. "He stayed here through the break, as did Marcus, to do their rehabs and all that stuff. Romeo is going to be right around the corner."
The returns of Smart and Langford will give the Celtics a valuable boost of defense, versatility and scoring at a critical juncture in the season.