Celtics

Celtics

BOSTON — Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart engaged in some post-practice 1-on-1 with assistant coaches that included contact activities as he continues to make progress from a torn oblique, but Smart stressed that he still does not have a timeline for returning to game action.

The team announced a 4-6 week recovery after Smart tore the oblique in the final week of the regular season. Sunday marks the four-week mark since the injury.

“Today was a great day,” Smart said after a lengthy post-practice workout as reporters again filmed his every move, which included an eye-popping dunk. "I was able to do some things, more and more. This is the next step, the next process to getting me back on the court to be able to do simple things like basketball activities such as driving to the rim and really moving and getting my abdominal and torso muscles going and try to see how that affects me. We’re trying to get a baseline on how everything goes.”

Smart engaged in 1-on-1 work against assistant coach Alex Barlow, taking a little contact while putting up shots against him.

"Just trying to get back out and see how it feels with basketball contact. Like I said, right now that's getting those motions down. Today was a good day. The next is full, live contact."

Pressed on a timetable to returning to action, Smart said he’s simply trying to make small strides. He has not engaged in 5-on-5 work and said live contact with the team would be the next step in his progression but didn’t hint when that might come.

"We're taking it day-by-day,” said Smart. "Unfortunately, there's nothing really you can do. One day it might feel good, one day it might not. So you've got to take it day-by-day and take it slow.

"Pain level is going down. The breathing is getting better. It's not as sore, so that's even better. Mild contact, in the fact I get bumped, like just walking down the street, two weeks ago that was excruciating pain for me. This week it is better. Like I said, day-by-day it continues to get better.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has steered clear of offering updates on Smart, noting he’s waiting for trainers to tell him when he’s cleared to return to practice activities and is focused on game preparation otherwise.

Smart has tried to lend the coaching staff a hand while sitting near the bench for games.

"Just trying to coach up guys, especially those younger guys on the defensive end,” said Smart. "Playoffs, you know, defense is elevated even more. We've got a lot of guys that can play defense, athletically and physically. I'm just trying to get the best and the most I can out of those guys on the defensive end.”

But it’s tough for Smart to sit there and watch the team endure spans like the third quarter in Tuesday’s Game 2 loss.

"That was hard. I was heated, obviously,” said Smart. "Being able to talk to the guys is different than being on the court. Just to see those guys fight and struggle and I'm not out there with them. But it's part of the game, and that's why you have four other guys with you, and a whole roster. 

"Everybody else has got to step up, and I'm sure they will. Not guaranteeing that we are going to win. That's our plan, but as long as we go out and give our effort and everything we've got, we should be there at the end of the game."

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