The Boston Celtics and All-NBA defender Marcus Smart have a small reason to celebrate on Sunday morning. The injury that the 26-year-old suffered last night against the Los Angeles Lakers is far less severe than originally feared.
According to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, the Celtics diagnosed Smart with a Grade 1 left calf strain. The point guard originally exited Boston’s loss to the Lakers last night on a non-contact play, sparking serious concern. He went down in obvious pain, clutching the back of his left calf. Celtics training staff assisted him off of the court and he was unable to put any weight on the injured leg.
Early indications feared that Smart may have injured his calf more severely, or possibly even suffered a dreaded Achilles injury. However, following an MRI, the team confirmed the less serious diagnosis and began the recovery process.
Although Smart will miss some time, it will be far less than originally expected, giving him the chance to return later in the regular season.
Positive news for the Celtics: First-team All-Defensive guard Marcus Smart has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 left calf strain, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. He will miss some time, but sigh of relief for all.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 31, 2021
The Celtics will hope to get their star defensive guard back as soon as possible. The closing unit suffered without him and wasted away a fourth quarter lead, falling to the Lakers, 96-95. Boston stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 58 points, but didn’t get enough help with Smart out and couldn’t close out what would’ve been a marquee win.
The loss knocked the Celtics back to 10-8 and marked their fifth loss in their last seven games. Boston has had to deal with COVID-19 complications throughout the early-going and played their full roster for just the second time this season on Saturday prior to Smart’s injury.
The 26-year-old point guard is in the midst of the best offensive season of his seven-year NBA career. With Kemba Walker out, Smart asserted himself more on offense through the Celtics first 17 games. Before the injury, he averaged 13.2 points and 6.0 assists per game, both career-highs.
Without him for the next few weeks, Boston will need to rely more on Walker and rookie Payton Pritchard in the backcourt. Once Smart returns, the Celtics will finally be at full strength.