Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart will miss Monday’s game against the Toronto Raptors with a thumb injury, according to the team.
Tremont Waters, who is on a two-way contract, will get the start over rookie Payton Pritchard, who has impressed in his early minutes. Waters takes Smart’s place with Jeff Teague out as well with a sprained ankle.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Smart’s affected thumb was the same one he had surgically repaired in 2018 after he tore a ligament.
“He just had a scan on that thumb, and it didn’t look too bad at first glance but we have to be smart about that,” Stevens said.
Stevens danced around answering a question about Pritchard starting before the game. Waters was a mild surprise given Pritchard’s early-season success, but Stevens may be focused on keeping his rotations together.
“I think it’s a lot less to me about starting than it is about figuring out how you can manage the rest of the game and make sure that our guys are in great position to be successful,” Stevens said. “It’s kind of the same question that I’ve answered a bunch with the double bigs. I know down the road we’re going to have to be able to play that lineup, I know when Kemba comes back that we won’t nearly as much. But I think that this is a time where we’re going to have to figure out, especially with Smart out and how good Lowry and VanVleet are, we’re going to have to figure out how to manage the whole 48 minutes — not only from the standpoint of guarding those guys but also from the standpoint of generating offense.
“This is a great defensive team we’re getting ready to play against. Both guys will get shots, whether they start or come off the bench, whatever. It’s more about how much we need what punch at what time of the game.”
Pritchard is averaging 6.6 points and 2.4 assists entering Monday’s game while shooting 51.4 percent and 40 percent from three. Waters — last year’s G-League Rookie of the Year — has played nine minutes in two games so far.
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