BOSTON (CBS) — As the Celtics gear up for the postseason, they’re also monitoring a pair of injuries to key players. Both Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart had to leave Boston’s Sunday night loss to the Orlando Magic early due to different ailments.
Tatum was first to exit Boston’s 116-108 loss to Orlando, leaving after just six minutes on the floor. The 21-year-old left with a shin contusion that bothered him before the game and felt funny when he jumped, according to head coach Brad Stevens. The Celtics don’t sound too concerned with Tatum’s injury (Stevens wasn’t even aware of it before the game), but they also weren’t going to take any chances with their second-leading scorer this season.
Smart’s injury is a little more concerning, though it isn’t as bad as the left hip contusion he was initially diagnosed with by the team. The C’s guard took a hip to his side from Orlando big man Nikola Vucevic in the third quarter and was in obvious pain during a timeout that followed. He tried to stay in the game but went down in a heap after running down the floor. Smart was then helped to the Boston locker room and did not return.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported later Sunday night that Smart has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, which carries a much shorter recovery time than a hip contusion. The team will see how Smart responds over the next day or two, but they could be without their best perimeter defender when the playoffs get underway this weekend.
With the Celtics locked into the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, chances are we won’t be seeing Tatum or Smart when Boston closes out the regular season Tuesday night in Washington D.C. against the Wizards. That would give them both about a week off before the Celtics tip-off the NBA Playoffs next weekend against the Indiana Pacers, which is hopefully all they need to get close to full strength.