Celtics

Marcus Smart probable to return to Celtics for Sunday’s game after COVID absence

Smart's missed the Celtics' last six games, mostly due to being in the league's health and safety protocols.

Celtics Blazers takeaways
Marcus Smart is probable for Sunday's game against the Wizards. AP Photo/Steve Dipaola

The Celtics are in need of some good news following their latest collapse on Friday night. It appears they have some.

Starting point guard Marcus Smart is probable to play in Sunday’s game against the Wizards. Smart has missed the Celtics’ last six games, sitting out the first game in that stretch due to a right thigh contusion before entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Smart cleared the health and safety protocols on Tuesday, but missed Wednesday’s game against the Hornets and Friday’s game against the Blazers due to conditioning.

The Celtics fared well at the beginning of Smart’s absence, going 3-1 in the first four games – putting up solid offensive performances in wins over the Pacers and Bulls. But losses in the last two games have shown the Celtics have shown how much they’ve missed their starting point guard on both ends of the floor. Hornets guard Terry Rozier went off for 28 points in the Celtics’ Wednesday loss, shooting 6-for-11 from 3-point range. On Friday, the Celtics didn’t score a basket in the game’s final 7:10 as they lost to the Blazers, 109-105.

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Smart’s averaging a team-best 5.3 assists per game this season. Go go along with his team-best assist average, the Celtics have also performed better with him on the floor this season than with him off it. Smart’s plus-minus per 100 possessions is plus-3.8 and his on-off plus-minus per possessions is plus-5.8.

In addition to Smart’s probable return, backup guard Aaron Nesmith is also probable for Sunday’s game. Nesmith missed the last two games due to an ankle injury. As he’s struggled to get minutes in his second season, Nesmith put up a couple of decent showings before the recent ankle injury. He scored 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting against the 76ers and five points plus six rebounds in Monday’s win over the Pelicans.

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