BOSTON (CBS) — Doctors told Marcus Smart that he was less than an inch away from never playing basketball again. The Celtics guard has a keepsake to remind him just how lucky he is.
You probably recall Smart’s embarrassing injury during the 2017-18 season, when he took out his frustrations on a hotel picture frame following a one-point loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles. Smart punched the frame, which resulted in several pieces of glass getting lodged in his hand. The deep laceration forced him to miss 11 games at a key part of the season.
Smart now has a perfect reminder to keep his cool. The guard kept one of those shards of glass that doctors removed from his hand.
“To be honest, what the doctor told me as they’re taking out this glass — I actually still have the glass somewhere saved, to remind me each and every day how blessed I am to still be playing,” Smart told ESPN’s Zach Lowe during an appearances on the writer’s podcast. “The doctor actually told me, like you said, an eighth of an inch away I probably might not be playing basketball again for the rest of my life. They said it would’ve torn everything in my hand.
“It was a pretty thick amount of glass that came out my hand. I couldn’t believe it,” he continued. “I’m looking at them opening up my hand, taking out glass, and I actually still have pieces of glass stuck in my hand now. They said would probably be more of a threat of them trying to go and get it than just letting it be in my hand.”
So the next time Smart goes out and D’s up on an opponent, remember he’s doing so with pieces of glass still in his hand. His shooting hand. Wild.
Smart has become much wiser since that injury, and hasn’t let his emotions get the best of him. He is also putting together the best season of his career in 2019-20. Smart is playing his usual relentless defense, bodying up with anyone Brad Stevens asks him to, and is getting some early consideration for Defensive Player of the Year.
He’s also become a very reliable shooter for Boston, which no one thought was possible when Smart entered the league six years ago. For the season, Smart is averaging a career-high 12.3 points while hitting 38 percent of his shots from the floor. He’s turned himself into a respectable option from downtown, nailing 34.6 percent of his attempts from three-point land.
Gone are the days where opposing defenses would leave Smart wide open along the perimeter, begging for the guard to put up a shot. He said that his shot hasn’t changed at all — he’s just feeling a lot more confident whenever he puts up a shot.
“It’s the exact same shot. Just confidence is up,” he explained. “I’m getting my reps up every day and continue to work, work and work.”
Smart’s teammates have been a big part of his boost, feeling just as confident as he does whenever he puts up a shot.
“That feels good for me. It’s a testament to me putting in the work,” he said. “I’m running down on a fast break and they’re yelling to get a screen for me so I can shoot the three. That feels great and I think I can sustain it. I believe in myself. I’ve shown each year that I bet on myself, and it continues to work out every time.”