BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics are likely to have their defensive leader Marcus Smart back on the floor Friday night.
Smart, who suffered an oblique bruise on Sunday, said he plans to return when the C's host the Denver Nuggets.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Smart participated in the team’s walk-through this morning although that normally does not involve contact.
Following the walk-through, Smart was put through a series of drills that included contact, along with him moving laterally and as over and under screens - the kind of movements he’ll have to make quite often in a game.
“The soreness is at a lower level,” Smart said. “It really doesn’t stop me with my movements; my breathing is getting better, a lot better.”
And on top of the oblique bruise, Smart also caught a cold that transitioned into flu-like symptoms which, more than the oblique, was at the root of him not playing on Wednesday against the Miami Heat.
While he’s not quite 100 percent, Smart said he feels he’s good enough to get on the floor and help the Celtics try to extend their home winning streak to nine.
Smart said he will undergo additional testing of the oblique between now and tip-off.
“We just got done doing a lot of contact,” Smart said. “We’ll see if the oblique is fine. It held up well, really well. I’m proud of the results, they’re [Celtics medical and conditioning staff] proud so we’ll see what they say.”
This is the second time this calendar year that Smart suffered an oblique injury.
The previous one was last spring and kept Smart out for nearly a month.
Back then, he wore a flak jacket to help protect the oblique from additional damage and in all likelihood he’ll wear one tonight.
“We tried it when I came back the first time,” Smart said. “The thing with the padding is, you tend to get hit where the padding is. Some way, somehow, you find yourself still injured with the padding. We’ll have to discuss that and see where it goes. Most likely, I will be trying some type of extra padding around the oblique area.”
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.