Celtics

Celtics injuries: Good news for Time Lord; concern for Marcus Smart?

Celtics
Marcus Smart

The Boston Celtics outlasted the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals despite injuries to two key starters. Will they have to deal with more injury adversity in the East Finals against the Miami Heat?

Head coach Ime Udoka provided a mixed bag in the injury front Monday.

First, the good news: Udoka said big man Robert Williams will be available for Tuesday's Game 1 in Miami with no minutes restriction.

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"I'm always going to be a little bit cautious with guys coming off a layoff without touching the court, but it's a little different starting in this series as opposed to getting injected into a Game 7 or Game 6," Udoka said of Williams.

After missing Games 4, 5 and 6 with left knee soreness, Williams was available for Game 7 against the Bucks but didn't play, in part because Udoka didn't want to change the Al Horford-Grant Williams-Daniel Theis frontcourt rotation that was having success against Milwaukee.

Williams could have a much bigger impact in this series versus Miami, however, especially on the defensive end against talented big man Bam Adebayo.

Now for the bad news: Point guard Marcus Smart suffered a mid-foot sprain in Sunday's Game 7 and is questionable for Celtics-Heat Game 1, per Udoka.

"He took a pretty bad fall and got bent up," Udoka said of Smart. "It's a mid-foot sprain, pretty tender and sore right now, but we'll get him 'round-the-clock treatment."

 

Smart was spotted wearing a walking boot on his right foot after Game 7, but ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports there's optimism that the veteran guard can play Tuesday night.

Smart is critical to Boston's success; he tallied 21 points and seven assists with zero turnovers in a Game 6 victory on the road and dished out 10 assists in the deciding Game 7. He's also the Celtics' defensive leader as the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

Boston beat the Bucks by 23 points without Smart in Game 2 and went 3-1 in the series without Williams, so they have the depth to remain competitive should either player miss time. But the Heat present a different challenge than Milwaukee, and the availability of both Smart and Williams would go a long way toward the C's having success in this series.

NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat Game 1 begins Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET with "Celtics Pregame Live" ahead of 8:30 p.m. ET tipoff.