Brad Stevens seemed hopeful last night that Marcus Smart had avoided a severe injury to his left ankle after being carted off the Garden floor.
“You hope for the best,” Stevens said after the game. “I’ve seen some injuries that have been pretty nasty over my time, and hopefully this isn’t one of them. It doesn’t sound like it from the early indications.”
Now it seems, the optimism from the head coach was on the mark. The team announced Saturday that Smart has been diagnosed with a left ankle sprain and bone bruising. The rookie is expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks of action, a shorter recovery time than most had anticipated.
The radio voice of the Boston Celtics Sean Grande also confirmed the diagnosis on his way to Chicago with the team.
Surprise and relief being expressed up here at 30,000 feet that it’s “just a sprain”. Marcus Smart could be back before the end of November.
— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) November 8, 2014
The Celtics play a light schedule over the next three weeks, so it is possible Smart may only miss six or seven games for Boston if he returns within the expected recovery timetable.
Smart is averaging 6.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals over 20.1 minutes per contest in his first five NBA games. The no. 6 overall pick had solidified his role as Boston’s top backcourt reserve prior to the ankle injury and had been excelling in the role with his defensive pressure and energy.
“Hopefully he can get back sooner rather than later,” Stevens said after the game. “Because he’s really playing great basketball and I’m sure it’s really disappointing to be out five games into your rookie year, even if just for a little bit of time.”