The Celtics shiny preseason ended on a bit of a down note on Wednesday night as Marcus Smart rolled his left ankle with 48.3 seconds to play in the 2nd quarter of a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks. He stepped on the foot of Knicks shooting guard Justin Holiday and crashed to the floor grabbing the ankle. Smart left the game and did not return, and was seen on crutches leaving the Garden. The early indication is a sprained ankle, with about two weeks of recovery time:
Marcus Smart leaves Garden on crutches with boot on left ankle... He was more than a little frustrated.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) October 20, 2016
Brad Stevens confirms Marcus Smart has a sprained ankle, will be reevaluated tomorrow. Early word, per source: Around two weeks.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) October 20, 2016
Celtics coach Brad Stevens admitted in postgame comments that losing a key player in the final exhibition game is "a coaches worst nightmare", but he also downplayed the injury and it's impact. Via Jay King of MassLive:
"Early indications are that it looks like it will (be) hopefully not too long term."
"But I do think we practice every day," Stevens said. "That can happen in practice. So that was just a unique thing as he's driving down the court. He stepped on somebody's foot and twisted it, and that's why we ultimately have a team. So that we can make up for the loss of a key contributor if necessary."
Brad Stevens doesn't sound too worried about Marcus Smart's left ankle sprain. Didn't even close the door on Smart playing Opening Night.— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) October 20, 2016
During his regular Thursday morning appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Danny Ainge also noted that he wasn't ready to rule out Smart for opening night:
Danny Ainge on @985TheSportsHub said team is still evaluating Marcus Smart and are not certain about his opening-night status.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) October 20, 2016
The Celtics can certainly weather a couple of weeks without Smart. If the two week prognosis on the sprained ankle is in fact correct, he would miss somewhere between 3 and 5 games. Obviously it's not ideal, and certainly frustrating for both Smart and the Celtics who are eager to see how improved Marcus will be in what is expected to be a breakout season.
However, fashion icon Terry Rozier looked fully capable of leading the Celtics 2nd unit in the absence of Smart after his stellar performance last night:
Terry Rozier really now 5 for 6 from the field, 3 for 4 on threes, 2 rebounds and an assist in 10 minutes.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) October 20, 2016
Stay tuned for more updates on Smart's ankle as we get more information.
Photo Credit- Charles Krupa, Associated Press
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Mark Allison 10/20/2016 11:29:00 AM Tweet Edit