Boston Celtics

By this time next week, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart could be lacing up the sneaks to take the floor in the NBA Playoffs with his fellow Celtics.

The Celtics have been without Smart for 17 games, including playoffs, but his return is nearing closer by the day.

98.5 The Sports Hub’s ‘Toucher & Rich‘ spoke with Celtics president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, on Thursday morning and we learned that “Marcus is at least a week away” from returning to game action.

Smart has been out since March 14, after undergoing thumb surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.

The good news is that Smart is out on the court preparing for his return.

What that means exactly is “he’s starting to run. And he’s getting up shots. He’s doing all that kind of stuff,” Ainge told T&R.

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When asked about what Smart will bring to the team, Ainge was quick to say that “we want him back because he can play.”

BOSTON – Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics and Matthew Dellavedova of the Milwaukee Bucks exchange words during the second quarter at TD Garden on October 18, 2017. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“He can guard the other team’s best players, at multiple positions,” said Ainge. “He’s another ball handler on the court for us, with size and can switch. He’s such a competitive, tough guy. His talent level is missed.”

Once Smart returns to action, he’ll be eased in with a minute restriction, according to Ainge.

If he was to return in at least a week like Ainge said, that would mean he could be returning in game 6 or 7 against the Milwaukee Bucks, if the series even lasts that long.

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Right now Terry Rozier III and Shane Larkin are doing a fine job at the guard position, but Smart’s pesky defensive is sorely missed.

Once he returns, the Celtics will have a lockdown defender, who can score around the basket and can knock down a shot, when needed. And the thing with Smart is, when he’s feeling it, he’s feeling it, and he can’t be stopped.

Hopefully that’s the Marcus Smart the Celtics will get back but we can’t hold out breathe.

UP NEXT: The Celtics (55-27/2-0) continue their first round action as they head to Milwaukee on Friday night to take on the Bucks (44-38/0-2) in Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs. Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 9:00 p.m., with tip-off set for 9:30 p.m.

— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com

John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at john.hardiman@bbgi.com.

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