Celtics’ Marcus Smart returns after 11 injury-related absences against the Pistons on Wednesday
Celtics guard Marcus Smart will return against the Pistons on Wednesday night, the team announced. Here’s what you need to know:
- Smart has not played since retiring from a competition on Jan. 21 against the Raptors with a right ankle sprain. The team went 6-5 without him during the injury.
- Smart leads Boston with 7.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game. The assists average is a career high for the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
- Boston also announced on Wednesday that Jayson Tatum and Al Horford will be available against Detroit. Both starters missed Tuesday night’s loss to Milwaukee.
the athlete‘s instant analysis:
The Celtics still have the best record in the NBA at 41-17, but their sparkling start to the season slowed in late January. After a nine-game winning streak, the January 21 loss to Toronto kicked off a three-game losing streak that was the longest of the season.
Along with Smart, key players Robert Williams III and Derrick White left this game with injuries.
Last week, the team also saw All-Star Jaylen Brown go down with a fractured face that could hold him through the All-Star break.
What to keep from time
Smart sprained his right ankle but it was re-aggravation of a bruised bone in that ankle he sustained last postseason that put him on hold for three weeks. Smart was expected to sit out the All-Star break to take advantage of the extra time to rest, but apparently feels ready to hit the court now as Boston struggles to regain control of first place in to keep the week off. — White
How was Boston without Smart?
Despite Brown having a fractured face and several other key rotation players on and off the lineup, the Celtics were able to put the ship back on track after returning from their road trip and won six of their last eight games as White had some of the best Has played basketball games in his career. The Celtics fought valiantly in an overtime loss Tuesday in Milwaukee despite missing most of the core rotation, but they go into their last game before the All-Star break just a half-game ahead of the Bucks and lie in the loss column.
With Smart, Tatum and Horford back in the line-up against Detroit on Wednesday, Boston will need to win this game or risk going into the break with the bitter aftertaste of losing first place. — White
(Photo: Nick Turchiaro / USA Today)
https://theathletic.com/4206404/2023/02/15/marcus-smart-return-from-injury/ Celtics’ Marcus Smart returns after 11 injury-related absences against the Pistons on Wednesday