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Celtics expect Marcus Smart to miss another two weeks

Portland Trailblazers v Boston Celtics

Portland Trailblazers v Boston Celtics

NBAE/Getty Images

Marcus Smart injured his knee Nov. 20, and the Celtics hoped he’d miss just a couple weeks.

Two weeks later, Smart hasn’t returned – and won’t soon.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Three weeks away from the injury would still be very aggressive,” Stevens said. “I don’t see him playing anytime in the near future. Hopefully in a couple weeks he can rejoin us.”

Boston is 5-3 (+8.0 per game) with Smart starting and 6-5 (+3.1 per game) otherwise.

Smart brings balance to the Celtics. He’s a strong defender who grants more leeway for Boston to play offensive-minded players with him. He’s also raw as a distributor, which forces the Celtics – usually to their benefit with Stevens calling plays – to all share the ball offensively. And his place in the starting lineup allows Isaiah Thomas or Avery Bradley to bring a scoring punch off the bench.

The Celtics can get by without Smart, but they’ll have a much easier time succeeding whenever he returns.