BOSTON – Boston Celtics rookie Marcus Smart was stretchered off the TD Garden floor with a left ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Boston’s 101-98 win against the Indiana Pacers Friday night.
The Celtics announced after the game that Smart would be undergoing an MRI on his ankle late Friday evening to help determine the severity of the ailment.
The 20-year-old suffered the injury while driving to the basket on a fast break with 11:07 remaining in the fourth quarter. Smart was fouled on the play by Pacers guard A.J. Price and stepped on the foot of Pacers’ forward Lavoy Allen while attempting a layup.
Smart’s ankle appeared to be dislocated on the play. He fell to the ground and immediately grabbed his lower left leg afterwards.
The rookie remained on the floor for several minutes after the fall, and looked to be in excruciating pain as Celtics team doctors treated him on the court. The entire Celtics bench surrounded him before Smart was eventually stretchered off the floor.
Brad Stevens was cautiously optimistic about Smart’s prognosis while speaking with reporters following the game.
“It’s a sprained ankle, or broken, we don’t know,” Stevens said. “Obviously, we’ll do the X-rays and all that stuff. We’re hoping it’s a sprain, but we don’t know that. We have a great deal of concern for him, number one and hopefully he can back sooner rather than later, because he’s playing really great basketball.”
Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com is reporting that Smart’s ankle X-rays came in negative, but the young guard is still awaiting an MRI. The team is expected to give another update on Smart’s status on Saturday, but he will not accompany the team to Chicago for their game against the Bulls Saturday evening.
A. Sherrod Blakely from CSNNE.com is reporting via a team source that Smart experienced a sprain, and nothing is torn in Smart’s ankle.
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) November 8, 2014
Several members of the Celtics reacted emotionally to Smart’s injury following the game.
“It was very difficult; you hate to see a teammate go down especially when he’s playing well,” Jeff Green said after the game. “Marcus is a soldier though. He’s going to get himself back together quick. I know he’s going to work hard to get back. Tough loss for us.”
“I’m going to reach out to him like always and be a good teammate,” Jared Sullinger told reporters. “But that’s not just because I got to be a good teammate, that’s because that’s family.”
Celtics third-string point guard Phil Pressey saw additional minutes in the fourth quarter once Smart went down.
“We all felt bad for him but we know he’s a strong kid,” Pressey said of Smart. “He’s going to come back from it and no doubt that he’s going to be stronger than he was before. He just has to stay ready like I was, be patient and hopefully get him back out there as soon as possible.”
Smart is averaging 6.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals over 20.1 minutes per contest in Boston’s first five games of the season. The no. 6 overall pick had solidified his role as Boston’s top backcourt reserve prior to the ankle injury.