The sight was horrifying on July 16. There he was, Marcus Smart; the current franchise player, the greatest asset, and one of the better guards the Celtics have on the ground in agony. A dive for a loose ball down eight in the 2nd quarter of a summer league contest against Portland left him rolling and screaming on the court before he walked off with trainers by his side.
Everybody was in shock; the TV announcers, Smart's teammates that looked on as he rushed off the court, and of course me, sitting in my back room late at night as I happened to come across the game on NBA TV at the worst possible moment.
Speculation ran wild from a possible broken wrist to a hand fracture, all considerations that could have been devastating setbacks as Boston tries to either build up Smart as a star-level centerpiece or a major trade asset.
But as news came back that the injury was simply two painfully dislocated right fingers that would only end Smart's short summer league stint and sideline him for a few weeks, a massive breath of relief unleashed across the Celtics basketball world. From Brad Stevens to Danny Ainge to Bill Simmons, we all exhaled harder than the last big scare with Smart, which ended in similarly relieving fashion.
A new update came across on Smart Sunday, as August rolls along and training camp draws nearer, that the now second-year guard continues to aggressively rehab his fingers. The report from Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe stated:
While there is no rush for his return since the Celtics are six weeks from the start of training camp, second-year guard Marcus Smart is going through two-a-days in rehabilitating two dislocated fingers on his right hand and should be cleared to resume basketball activities in a couple of weeks, according to his agent.
Washburn added that the expectation remains that Smart will return to his role as starting point guard of the C's, which he claimed in the aftermath of the Rajon Rondo trade a year ago. With his hard-edged personality on the court, outstanding size for his position, ability to make plays at a high-rate, and an incredible defensive prowess; Smart remains by and far the most intriguing player on the Celtics roster as they continue to rebuild their team.
Smart averaged 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game on 37% shooting in his first NBA season which earned him a spot on the All-Rookie 2nd Team. Going into his second year presumably healthy; the expectations for Smart to advance as a ball-handler, shooter, and overall leading force on the court is going to be one of the top stories to follow this upcoming season. Luckily, the path towards that will likely begin within two weeks for Smart.
Here are some highlights from Smart's time in 2015 summer league between Utah and Las Vegas prior to his injury.
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Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Bobby Manning 8/17/2015 11:59:00 AM Tweet Edit