BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics may actually get an injured player back in the near future.
Marcus Smart hasn’t played since suffering a torn right UCL on a dive for a loose ball back on March 11, but will reportedly be cleared to return to game action around April 27, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Smart has already been cleared to start light non-contact shooting, roughly one month after he suffered the injury.
Smart is an integral part of Boston’s league-best defense, a physical (and pesky) defender on anyone Brad Stevens tells him to cover, so his return would be a big boost to Boston’s postseason chances. The Celtics can use all the guard help they can get, with Kyrie Irving sidelined for the postseason after undergoing knee surgery.
But the big question is will the Celtics still be playing when Smart receives that clearance? The undermanned Celtics are currently looking at a first-round matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards or Miami Heat, and Smart’s return would likely come at the end of that series. If Boston advances, they would likely face the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round, which would set up an intriguing defensive assignment for Smart with Rookie of the Year favorite Ben Simmons.
Smart, 24, will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.