When Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka announced the status of Marcus Smart ahead of Game 2 of their best-of-7 series against the Milwaukee Bucks, he offered a silver lining for Game 3 on May 7, when the Eastern Conference semifinal shifts to Milwaukee.
“I don’t think it’s long-term,” Udoka told reporters May 3 after ruling out Smart before Game 2. “He’s missed some games in the past. But, with the three days off, we’re assuming he’ll be OK.”
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Smart on Quad Injury: ‘Taking It Day by Day’
Smart was singing a slightly different tune after the Celtics’ May 4 practice. While the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year couldn’t guarantee he’d be available for Saturday’s matinee, he did provide reporters with an update on his status, which, according to Smart, is trending in the right direction.
“[I’m doing] better,” Smart told reporters. “Better than I was; some of the swellings have gone down. So, I’m just taking it day by day now.”
Smart revealed his injured right thigh is the same area he hurt during the regular season, adding that a right thigh contusion is common among NBA players.
“It’s part of the game,” he said. “It’s just the quad; where I got hit was closer to the knee area and the groin. So, a lot of the fluid went to the knee and the restriction of it. So just trying to get the fluid out of there and get the quad back, firing the way that it was. It’s really taking it, like I said, day by day. The staff is doing a great job with treatment, exercises to help strengthen the quad and get the blood flowing; things like that.”
Smart Undergoes MRI on Quad
Smart said he underwent an MRI, assuring fans that “everything is fine” but that it was still too soon to set a timetable for his return.
“Tested it today on the court,” he said. “It felt OK. I’m a little sore, still. Like I said, I still have some fluid. So, it’s still restricting my movement a little bit. And, we’ll just go from there. They’re doing everything they can, and I’m doing everything, on my part, on my end, to get back on the court.”
Smart: ‘I Have to Listen to My Body & Do Everything I Can’
Before Game 2, Smart acknowledged that he was uneasy about his availability, saying that giving his body time to heal was ultimately better for him and his teammates in the long run.
“I was very, very antsy that whole day,” Smart said. “I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t even take a nap, just wishing I was out there with my guys, and it’s really tough. My guys know. Anybody who knows me understands that if I miss a game, especially a playoff game, something really has to be wrong with me. So, it was really hard from that aspect.
“But, I have to listen to my body and do everything I can to get back out there, but I have to listen to my body in the same format on that end and allow my body to do what it does and heal.”
The Bucks will host Game 3 on May 7. The tip-off is at 3:30 Eastern time.