BOSTON (CBS) — It has been a fairly painful nine days for Marcus Smart, but the Celtics guard said he is “making great progress” in his recovery from a torn oblique.
But that “great progress” doesn’t mean Smart will be back out there as Boston’s defensive bulldog anytime soon. The “progress” is that he can walk on his own without experience any crippling pain.READ MORE: 'DCR Wants To Turn This Into A Lawn': Group Fights Plan To Relocate Herter Community Garden
Smart held court with reporters on Tuesday as his Celtics teammates practiced in the background at The Auerbach Center in Brighton. He’s itching to get back on the court after suffering a nasty oblique injury in Boston’s second-to-last game of the regular season, but knows he has a slow process ahead of him.
“It still hurts real bad to laugh, to cough, to sneeze, but the everyday stuff is getting better,” said Smart, adding that he could finally get out of bed on his own.
While the pain is irritating, the most frustrating part for Smart is the recovery. There really isn’t much anyone can do for the injury, they just have to let it heal on its own.
“That’s probably the frustrating part, is that you have to sit there helplessly, knowing there’s nothing you can do,” he said. “You just sit there and go through it. Being out here watching these guys and not being on the floor makes it even more tough for me.”
Smart had the wind knocked out of him and initially thought that he had suffered a deep bruise when he collided with Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic back on April 7. Smart wasn’t gone for very long before returning to the court, but then he felt a pain rush through his body that he had never felt before.
“It was weird because when I hit Vucevic, I took an extra step and thought I was fine. All of a sudden it felt like somebody stabbed me with a knife and I went down,” he explained. “When I came back in I thought I was fine. When I tried to get into a defensive stance, I felt something pull and that’s when I knew.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
“It was real painful and I don’t wish it on nobody,” Smart added.
Smart’s timetable was 4-to-6 weeks after he was diagnosed with the injury, but he isn’t even thinking about a return just yet. He just wants to be able to walk and breathe normally again. He hopes to be running again by the four-week mark, and will go from there. But in all likelihood, the Celtics will not have their defensive heartbeat for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Celtics currently hold a 1-0 series lead over the Pacers in their first-round series, thanks to an ugly Game 1 victory in Boston on Sunday. Smart had to watch that contest from home, but told reporters he’ll be back on the Boston bench for Wednesday night’s Game 2.
“I’ll be at the game, on the bench tomorrow. It’ll be good to be out there with those guys,” he said.
There, Smart will try to serve as another assistant for head coach Brad Stevens. He’ll be calling out defensive plays to his teammates on the floor, and let them know if they’re in the proper position.
Stevens would much rather have Smart on the floor, but hopes that having him back in the TD Garden leads the Celtics making a few Marcus Smart plays against the Pacers on Wednesday.
“Marcus Smart does 12 things that nobody else does,” Stevens said Tuesday. “Everybody has to do one of them. Nobody can be Marcus Smart, and we’re not asking anybody to be Marcus Smart. … Just do what you do best and do it a little bit harder, let the chips fall where they may.”MORE NEWS: 'I Lost My Son To The Streets': Father Brings Busload Of Donations To Mass And Cass
Maybe having Smart barking orders from the bench will help his teammates do just that.