Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Marcus Smart says return date from ankle injury remains unknown

Marcus Smart is set to miss his fifth consecutive game with a right ankle sprain, when the Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night.

The veteran guard sustained the injury in the first half of team's 106-104 win over the Raptors in Toronto late last month and hasn't returned since.
"The beauty, it's a longer season, don't have to rush, so we're just taking it day-by-day," said Smart Tuesday after practice. "They're very small improvements at this point, but improvements nonetheless. I'm just trying to wait for it to heal a little more, because of the bone bruise and things like that are going on with it. I don't want to go out there and put too much pressure on it early and now we're starting back at day one."
The Celtics are 1-3, including a three-game skid, in Smart's absence -- before a 125-121 overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Garden Saturday night.

At 36-15, Boston has the best record in the NBA along with being ranked third in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating (the only team ranked in the top-four in both categories). Interim head coach Joe Mazzulla was named as All-Star coach for "Team Giannis" and Jayson Tatum -- plus, most likely Jaylen Brown -- are also heading to Salt Lake City as All-Stars, which is roughly two weeks away.

The Celtics will play eight games within the next 15 days before the All-Star break and if Smart doesn't return prior to players heading out on vacation he'll have sat out for over a month to rest and rehab -- which may not be a bad idea if the team elects to go that route.
"We haven't made any decisions like that yet," Smart said "Right now, we're just taking it one day at a time. It's one of those things if I'm feeling good enough to get out there, then I'll be out there. If it's not, then there's no need to try to get out for a game or two and we got All-Star coming up. I'll probably know here in the next couple games whether or not that's the case."
In the meantime, Robert Williams (ankle), who was a late-game scratch prior to tip-off against the Lakers Saturday night, is listed as questionable ahead of the Celtics taking on the Nets tonight. ESPN has tonight's broadcast at 7:30 ET.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Associated Press

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