Basketball

Marcus Smart enters league’s health and safety protocols

Smart was ruled out for Friday's game against the 76ers and could miss another pair of games.

Celtics starting lineup
Marcus Smart is out for Friday's game after being placed in the league's health and safety protocols. AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

Right as it appeared the Celtics had gotten through the COVID-19 surge, another player was placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols Friday.

Starting point guard Marcus Smart became the 17th Celtics player this season to be placed in the league’s health and safety protocols and the 16th since mid-December. Smart was immediately ruled out for Friday’s game against the 76ers.

Smart shared prior to the season that he is vaccinated against COVID-19, which means he could return in six days if he is asymptomatic and meet other testing standards under the NBA’s protocols.

Friday’s game will mark the second straight game Smart will miss, as he sat out Wednesday’s game against the Pacers due to a right thigh contusion. Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens didn’t seem too concerned over the injury in an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” on Thursday, calling it a “day-to-day” injury.

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If Smart is out for the next six days, that would not only rule him out for Friday’s game, but it would also rule him out for at least two more games on the Celtics’ upcoming four-game homestand.

Since placing over a dozen players in the league’s health and safety protocols in the last couple of weeks of December, the Celtics haven’t had as many players enter the league’s health and safety protocols in January. Only backup point guard Payton Pritchard has been placed in health and safety protocols in January. He returned to the team on Wednesday and every other Celtics player that’s been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols since December has also returned.

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