The Boston Celtics will be missing the services of Marcus Smart over the next couple of weeks after the scrappy veteran guard was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain in his left calf, the team announced on Sunday.
Though the team had set Smart’s timetable for return at two to three weeks, there is some optimism that the 26-year-old can return in a range closer to one to two weeks, a source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Boston is in the midst of a two-game losing skid, so losing their emotional leader right now is not ideal. The C’s will head out on a five-game road trip on the West Coast without Smart there to pester their opponents. They start with a Tuesday night matchup against the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center in a game where we realy like an NBA point spread play: Boston by -2.5 points at -109 odds (22Bet).
Smart would have appeared to pick up the injury in the fourth quarter of a 96-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. He went in for the MRI that revealed the Grade 1 left calf strain on Sunday.
The play in question didn’t seem all that consequential, with Smart going up and fighting for a rebound in front of Boston’s bench and not seeming to land awkwardly with 10:31 left in a tight game. But shortly after the play, Smart began grabbing at his lower left leg, eventually keeling over and writhing in pain on the ground.
Boston called a timeout to buy a little more time to figure out what they were dealing with in terms of Smart’s injury, but the feisty guard could not continue as he was helped off the court and directly to the locker room, putting no weight on the leg as he left.
Lower leg injuries are scary because of their proximity to the all-important achilles tendon, so it’s very encouraging that the MRI came back as nothing but a strain and that a source close to the situation is exhibiting optimism about the severity of that strain. We’d expect a grinder like Smart to beat his return timetable and be back on the court in under two weeks.