Celtics' Marcus Smart: 'Strong Likelihood' I'll Return from Quad Injury for Game 3May 5, 2022
It appears the heart and soul of the Boston Celtics is set to return to the court following a one-game absence because of a right quad contusion.
Celtics starting point guard Marcus Smart told reporters Thursday there is a "strong likelihood" he plays Game 3 against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum after missing Boston's 109-86 Game 2 win at TD Garden.
Smart, the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year, suffered the quad injury during Game 1 after getting hit in the leg multiple times. He also injured his shoulder, but the Celtics have indicated that his shoulder is fine.
While Smart believes he will return, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told reporters the team will have to wait until Friday to know more about his status for Game 3.
"We'll know more tomorrow based on how it feels today," Udoka said. "But obviously looks better today than he did. Just moving around, walking around the last few days when he couldn't go. We'll know more tomorrow."
Smart also dealt with a right quad contusion in January, missing six games. He told reporters that he "reaggravated the same injury that I've been dealing with" in Game 1. It's unclear if the ailment has been bothering him as much as it did earlier this season.
Smart has been impressive through five playoff games for the Celtics, averaging 15.2 points, 6.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals. Boston will need him to remain healthy to make a deep playoff run.
That said, Derrick White and Payton Pritchard had underwhelming performances in Game 2 against the Bucks. White finished with just zero points, four rebounds and five assists in the starting lineup, while Pritchard finished with six points, three rebounds and three assists off the bench.
Grant Williams and Al Horford were the two players to step up significantly in Smart's absence. The duo teamed up to limit Giannis Antetokounmpo around the rim, and both were effective offensively. Williams had an electric performance, finishing with 21 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Horford finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
Getting Smart back into the lineup will be a huge boost for the C's, especially on the road in Milwaukee.