Sunday, July 3, 2022

Marcus Smart injury update: Celtics list Defensive Player of the Year as questionable with thigh contusion

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Marcus Smart suffered multiple injuries as the Boston Celtics lost Game 1 of their second-round series to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. In the second quarter, he suffered a stinger to his right arm that briefly removed him from play, but he was able to return for the second half of action. In addition, he suffered a contusion to his right thigh that is a bit more serious.

The Celtics are currently listing Smart as questionable for Game 2 against Milwaukee. Game 2 will be played on Tuesday, and the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year will be critical if Boston hopes to slow down star Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, who scored 25 points in Milwaukee’s victory. 

“He got hit twice I think during the game,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Monday. “He’s a tough guy that’s gonna try to play through things and we’ll get him some treatment today and see how he feels tomorrow, but he’ll be listed as questionable.”

As for Smart’s shoulder, Udoka said it was “fine” and added “that was just in the moment.” The concern for now appears to be focused on Smart’s thigh, and getting him back on the floor will be about more than just pain tolerance. 

“It’s bruised,” Udoka said. “I would say more than just pain tolerance, though. It’s something that’s going to be stiff. He got hit twice there and he’s had this in the past where he had to miss some games obviously this year. So it’s more so than just pain tolerance, there’s some tightness and some restriction with movement as well.”

The Celtics are fortunate from a scheduling standpoint. While Game 2 will be played on Tuesday, their series will take a three-day break before continuing for Game 3 in Milwaukee on Saturday. Whether Smart plays in Game 2 or not, he’ll have plenty of time to rest before Game 3. From there, it returns to the postseason’s typical every other day format.

Milwaukee is dealing with a major injury of its own. Khris Middleton is not expected to play for the Bucks in this series. If the Celtics can get their entire roster onto the floor, that should give them a meaningful advantage over the defending champions. Smart’s injury complicates matters. He is essential to their league-best defense, and if he can’t play, the Celtics are going to have to drastically alter their game plan against one of the most dangerous opponents in basketball.

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