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Report: Boston’s Marcus Smart out until after All-Star break

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 8: Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game against the Washington Wizards on January 8, 2021 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Boston’s four best players — Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and Marcus Smart — have played a total of 28 minutes together this season.

That stat is for those readers wondering why Boston is hanging around .500 this season (14-13 going into Sunday’s game) with a middle-of-the-pack offense and defense. They have not been whole.

That’s not going to change anytime soon. Smart, who has been out 11 games with a calf strain, will be out until after the All-Star break, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Smart, working to fully recover from the injury, which occurred on Jan. 30, resumed traveling with the Celtics on Sunday in New Orleans and participated in light on-court activities, coach Brad Stevens said before his team’s game against the Pelicans.

Smart had a strong start to the season, averaging 13.1 points a game and providing elite perimeter defense.

Between injuries (Walker missing the start of the season) and COVID-19 (Tatum says it still impacts his breathing), Boston has not been able to get its core group on the court enough this season to get a strong read on where this team is in the East hierarchy. Danny Ainge may make a move at the March 25 trade deadline to improve the roster, but that’s not really how he traditionally operates (the last big in-season move by Ainge was Isaiah Thomas).

Hopefully, we get to witness the firepower of a fully armed and operational Celtics team in the second half of the season.