We've heard Marcus Smart can play Thursday if cleared - How about Tuesday?

My point is this. What difference does a two-day period make in the healing and recovery process? Very little I would guess. Chris Paul returned to action 37 days after the same UCL thumb-ligament surgery, and Tuesday will make 39 days post-surgery for Marcus Smart

Game five on Tuesday at TD Garden is critical (aren't they all?) for this series against Milwaukee and going forward. Smart would make the Bucks work much harder and hopefully curtail some of their offense. He certainly would bring energy and extra manpower to an injury-depleted team.

Marcus loves the game of basketball. He needs to play it, particularly with him finding out that his mother has cancer of the bone marrow. A re-injury of his UCL would certainly end his season, but I doubt it would be devastating or career-ending. Someone with more knowledge of this, please correct me if I am wrong.

That determination will be up to his medical team. The first step happens very soon on Tuesday morning when his doctor will determine if, and when, he can return to action. Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens may already have a fair idea of the answer to that question, but if he is ready for tomorrow night in game five, it may be in the team's bests interests to keep that information under wraps until prior to game time. The element of surprise has value.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Chris Schwegler/NBAE