The Celtics path to full health will apparently take them through the NBA’s All-Star break next month. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Marcus Smart isn’t expected to return until after the break, which means he’ll miss at least another seven games.
Smart is still rehabbing a left calf strain, which he suffered on January 30 in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Originally, the expectation was Smart would miss two or three weeks, but now Woj is reporting that he “hopes [to return] to the lineup for the start of the season’s second half,” which begins on March 11. The schedule for the NBA’s second half is expected to be released early next week.
This report comes after Brad Stevens told media members on Sunday that Smart has “been going at a decent rate the last few days.” Stevens mentioned that Smart is traveling with the team for their current three-game road trip, but they are “unsure” of when he’ll return to the lineup.
Before Smart got hurt, the Celtics were 10-7, but are just 5-7 without him in the lineup. That includes a west coast road trip that saw them go 2-3, and losses to the Pistons, Wizards, and Hawks.
Before getting hurt, Smart started 17 games for the C’s in 2021 and was averaging 16 points, six assists, and two steals per game. In his place, Jeff Teague and Tremont Waters have both seen a boost in minutes, especially in games when Kemba Walker in unavailable due to the team holding him out of back-to-backs.
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