Ime Udoka Delivers Celtics’ Pivotal Injury Updates, Preps for Game 5

Marcus Smart Celtics

Getty Images Marcus Smart of the Celtics reacts from the bench against the Heat during the second quarter in Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals

The heart and soul of the Boston Celtics, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in Marcus Smart’s status for Game 5, remains uncertain ahead of the Celtics’ pivotal matchup against the Miami Heat.

On Monday, the Celtics, coming off of a 102-82 blowout win in Game 4, managed without Smart as they evened up the Eastern Conference finals’ best-of-7 series, 2-2 at TD Garden.

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Smart (foot and ankle sprain) and starting center Robert Williams (left knee soreness) are questionable in the Celtics’ latest injury report.

Ime Udoka on Marcus Smart & Rob Williams: ‘Both Are Feeling Better’

Whether team doctors will clear Smart and Williams to take the floor for tip-off at FTX Arena remains.

“Both (are) feeling better,” Udoka said. “Marcus still has some swelling and pain; soreness. They will test it out pregame and see how they feel.”

According to Udoka, Williams’ status will remain day-to-day throughout the rest of the postseason — which was something Ime first revealed after winning Game 4 and reiterated following morning’s shootaround.

Udoka: ‘At This Time of the Year, Injuries Aren’t Uncommon’

As for Williams, he will test his left knee prior to game time. However, there’s optimism that Rob will be available in Game 5, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported an update on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team recipient.

“It’s been the theme of the series,” Udoka explained. “Teams playing from behind. Teams coming off losses, playing with more aggression and we want to obviously reverse that. And come out with some urgency ourselves, understanding we’re on the road and want some carryover from the previous game.”

In regards to various injuries for both teams, have you seen something like this in the postseason before?

“At this time of year, injuries aren’t uncommon,” Udoka replied. “The amount of guys that are on the questionable list from game to game is kind of alarming. But, we’ve been dealing with it, especially with the Rob situation, for a while. Like I said, he’s pretty much day-to-day the rest of the playoffs. So, it’s something we have to manage and sort of workaround. They’re going through their own thing and got quite a few guys banged up as well. Sometimes luck plays into it and health is a big part of that.

“So, we have to make do with what we have. Both teams have done that and won with players out as we have throughout the playoffs.”

Ime Udoka Gives Marcus Smart & Robert Williams UPDATE For Game 5 | Celtics ShootaroundMIAMI, FL — Ime Udoka was interviewed at the Celtics Wednesday shootaround. Udoka gave updates on both Marcus Smart and Robert Williams' injuries, previewed Game 5 and briefly spoke about the tragedy in Texas. Boston is coming off a 102-82 blowout win over the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The…2022-05-25T17:14:18Z

Udoka on The Heat: ‘It’s Nothing Schematic That They’re Doing’

Both losses (Game 1, and Game 3) were valuable teaching moments for Boston. Refraining from its bad habits is the goal for Udoka and the Celtics, despite the potential injuries that could rule key players from both sides out for Game 5.

“Understanding what they did to take us out of our rhythm,” Udoka said. “It can’t be a back and forth thing, where we defend at a high level and all of a sudden they up their physicality. They put their head down and then they kind of change the trajectory of the game. So, we understand what they’ve done to hurt us in those two quarters, specifically, in those games.

“It’s nothing schematic that they’re doing; it’s upping their intensity, playing with more urgency and we did the same when we’ve been down.”

For Ime, that’s the key to winning.

“Our guys understand that,” Udoka added. “We’ve been pretty open about it; how to combat that. Have to come out with the right mindset coming off a win that we did coming off of those losses.”


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