The Celtics could be in for a big boost on Monday night, as Marcus Smart has been cleared for full contact and been upgraded to questionable for Game 4 of the Green’s second-round series against the Bucks.
#NEBHInjuryReport Marcus Smart has been cleared for full contact and played 3-on-3 yesterday. He fully participated in today’s practice. He says he’s hopeful to play tomorrow, but needs to see how his body reacts to practice.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 5, 2019
Out of action with a torn oblique suffered in an Apr. 7 loss to the Magic, a return on Monday would make it almost a month to the day since the injury put him on the shelf, meaning this return does check out from a health standpoint. There’s also the fact that Smart has been doing what he can to rush himself back to the Celtics lineup, and has tried his best to simulate the physicality of his bruising style in practice, in an effort to truly test his readiness.
Tests that have been passed, at least based on Smart’s post-practice talk with the assembled media.
“I’m trying all kinds of things to get hit,” Smart admitted to reporters. “Guarding guys who are coming off screens, in the post when I get the ball, guys will be checking me. Little elbows here or there to test it, and everything has checked out fine, and every box to find out the contact is OK.”
While Smart is saying he’s fine, he did note that he would have to see how he felt on Monday before any decision was made.
Smart’s potential return could go a long way for a C’s squad that’s been picked apart by the Bucks since Giannis Antetokounmpo took on more of a playmaking role following a Game 1 shutdown, though, with Khris Middleton having dropped 16-of-30 attempts (and 10 of his 16 tries from three-point land) since Game 2.