BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics may be getting Marcus Smart back sooner than anticipated.
Boston has upgraded Smart to “questionable” for Tuesday night’s Game 5 against the the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. The guard was set to have his right thumb re-evaluated in New York on Tuesday, but that actually took place on Monday. Smart has been cleared for contact, making it extremely likely he’ll be on the floor for Boston on Tuesday night.
“He still has to go through some things later this morning after our shoot-around and we’ll see how he feels after that. If he feels good, he’s been cleared physically to go,” head coach Brad Stevens said prior to Boston’s morning shoot-around. “If he has any pain or anything comes up, then we’ll hold him out.”
Smart was anticipating a Game 6 return, but it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that he’s coming back early. The Celtics could use Smart’s defensive play, as Khris Middelton has been having his way with Jaylen Brown so far this series, averaging 25.5 points on 61.5 percent shooting. They could also use Smart’s toughness, with the series getting chippy in the last few games. The Bucks have won two straight to tie the series at 2-2.
“He hasn’t played in a month-and-a-half, so this is an opportunity to come in and do what he does best; impact the game with his energy, his physicality, his savvy and his skill,” said Stevens.
In 54 games during the regular season, Smart averaged 10.2 points 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds for Boston.