Celtics Closer To Full-Strength After Surprising Injury Update

Getty Images Marcus Smart the Celtics dribbles down court

The Boston Celtics are inching closer to having a fully-healthy roster and the timing, up to this point in the regular season, couldn’t be any better.

A one-week layover in light of NBA All-Star Weekend, and amidst the Celtics’ four-game winning streak, was apparently just what the doctor ordered.

Marcus Smart: ‘I’m Probably Most Likely Going To Play Tomorrow’

Boston’s defensive anchor in Marcus Smart rejoined the team for practice Wednesday and delivered great news just before Thursday’s matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.

“It felt great,” Smart said. “Today was my first day to really get out there and play 5-on-5 contact and really press it to the limit to see. It felt really good. It was hard to really do stuff over the break, 5-on-5, and stuff like that. Like I said, today’s the first day it felt great. They cleared me and said if today went well, I’m probably most likely going to play tomorrow unless something changes but as of right now I will be playing.”

Smart added that he will be on a minute restriction against the Nets, Thursday, and that, with the first half of the season in the team’s rearview, he’s excited about the Celtics’ fresh start.

“I just want us to forget about that first half,” Smart said. “Forget how we played; that’s in the past. It’s over with. Get a fresh start in this second half and we control the narrative. We have an opportunity to come out and start fresh with the defense and reinvent ourselves and our identity on the defensive end — I just want to see my guys play with the same intensity I have. I’m not saying you have to go out there and play the same way I do, just the same intensity. That’s all I ask for. I think that’s all this coaching staff asks for.”

Holding teammates accountable is what Smart believes will ultimately lead to Boston returning to being the defensive juggernaut it once was in the NBA.

“It makes a difference. This is a team game,” Smart added. “If one guy’s not doing what he’s supposed to be doing, especially on the defensive end, it breaks down. We all work together. We’re all tied to a string. So, when one guy does something intensity-wise, everybody has to pick up on it, keep it going, and continue to strive to become the defensive team we know we can be; that we want to be and should be.”

Celtics’ Romeo Langford Eyeing His 2021 Season Debut

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens delivered more good news on the health front, providing everyone with an encouraging update on sophomore guard Romeo Langford, who underwent wrist surgery last September but is slated to make his regular-season debut really soon.

“Everybody practiced but Romeo (Langford), Romeo was out because of health and safety protocol,” Stevens said Wednesday. “He was cleared to play but I don’t know what that means over the next few days and how that will look. He will not practice today.”

When asked for clarification in regards to Langford’s condition, Stevens made it clear that Romeo hasn’t returned yet solely for health and safety protocol purposes.

“We got word at about 10 A.M. that he wasn’t going to be able to practice and I will guess that he will not travel with us,” Stevens said before confirming that COVID-19’s health and safety protocol is keeping him off the floor. “He would have been able to play tomorrow,” Stevens said.

The Celtics will resume their regular-season schedule against the Nets in Brooklyn, Thursday night.

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