INDIANAPOLIS — Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, sidelined by a torn oblique, accompanied the team to Indiana and got up shots following the team’s morning shootaround.
Smart engaged in some light shooting under the watch of assistant coach Jay Larranaga. He didn’t spend much time on the court, putting up flat-flooted shots from around the blocks and the free-throw line.
Marcus Smart out here doing some light shooting. pic.twitter.com/4Kpee32AFm— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) April 19, 2019
“It feels good [to shoot]. It’ll be two weeks this Sunday. We’re coming up on the two-week mark, and once again, I said earlier in the week, I’m still very ecstatic with the progress that I made,” said Smart, who was expected to miss 4-6 weeks before being able to return to basketball activities.
"I’m obviously nowhere near coming back but to be able to get back on the court, get some shots up, and be able to do a little more things actively is great progress for me.”
Smart cautioned against getting overly excited about the sight of him back on a court.
"It definitely still hurts. It does hurt,” said Smart. "It doesn’t hurt as much as the initial injury or as much as it did a couple days ago. But it’s definitely still some pain here, with some scar tissue and obviously the tear and everything. So we’re not trying to rush anything. We’re trying to keep a baseline with what I’m doing, and we’re pleased with the progress.”
Smart said he’s been able to walk fluidly more in recent days but doesn't plan to start jogging for the next couple weeks. He deemed himself “ahead of schedule” in terms of doing everyday tasks like walking and breathing normally, but admitted there’s still a lot of recovery ahead before even thinking about playoff basketball.
Asked to describe the pain from the initial injury, Smart offered a telling comparison.
Marcus Smart asked to describe pain of oblique injury. Compares it to getting hit by Mike Tyson. 🥊 🏀 pic.twitter.com/ZK7RF3dvGD— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) April 19, 2019
"I’m sure nobody would know but you could probably imagine getting hit by Mike Tyson with a body blow,” said Smart. "That’s how painful it was. It took me down, instantly. When I got back up it knocked the wind out of me and I thought I was OK. I’ve been hit before. And then the second time it felt like someone shot me. There’s nothing I could do on that one.
"I literally just collapsed and just told them to get me back to the back. There was so much pain going through my body that I didn’t know what was going on. It makes sense now with the MRIs and everything coming out to see that the oblique was torn. Now it makes sense why I was in so much pain. But it definitely felt like I was in the ring with Mike Tyson for about 10 seconds.”
Smart joined the team on the bench for Game 2 in Boston and was able to dispense advice to teammates, who said he offered defensive tips during most timeouts. Smart said that, not being able to help on the court, he felt he needed to be in Indiana to assist from the sideline.
"That was one thing Danny [Ainge] emphasized with me, being able to coach from the bench and really help these guys out, because, for some of these guys, it’s their first time taking on bigger roles,” said Smart. "They’re used to playing with or without people this year and unfortunately injuries happen. Stuff happens and they’ve been put in the fire. So being able to help those guys in certain things on this team is big for me, because they trust me to do that.”
Coach Smart has been diving into the film hoping to give his team hints about what might be coming.
"Just plays I know they’re going to run, plays I picked up on or were scouted,” said Smart. "The plays they like to run that we watch on video. And just trying to give those guys an extension of [coach] Brad [Stevens] on the floor. Only so much Brad can do — he has all these players to manage, and I’m watching those guys on the court. I can see a lot more things than Brad probably could because he’s watching something else. Just try to keep them in the right place and guide them off the court.”
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