The Boston Celtics might not have starting point guard Marcus Smart in uniform due to a foot injury when Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals tips off against the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.
The Celtics listed Smart as questionable and will see how he looks after the shootaround on Tuesday morning.
Smart initially suffered a right foot injury when he toppled over Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday. He underwent an MRI on Monday and was diagnosed with a sprain.
“Marcus took a pretty bad fall, got bent up,” said Celtics head coach Ime Udoka. “He has a midfoot sprain, and it’s pretty tender and sore right now. We’ll get him round the clock treatment and right now he’ll be listed as questionable.”
The Celtics are +2 underdogs in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat in Miami. Overall, bookies across the board installed the Celtics as the betting favorite at -185 odds to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals. The Celtics are +190 odds to win the 2022 NBA Championship, and they’re the second-highest team on the futures board over at DraftKings.
Smart underwent an MRI today on that right foot and the imaging returned clean, sources tell ESPN. There’s hope he’ll be ready for Game 1 and Celtics will see how it feels on Tuesday in Miami. https://t.co/pAruJK3cbN
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 16, 2022
Derrick White ready to start for Smart
The opening game of the Eastern Conference finals could have both starting point guards — the Celtics’ Smart and the Heat’s Kyle Lowry — out with injuries.
If Smart doesn’t play in Game 1, Udoka could tap Derrick White (7.0 ppg, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists) to start. When Smart missed one game against the Bucks in the second round, White was the next man up in the rotation.
If White starts Game 1, expect Payton Pritchard (4.8 ppg) to see increased playing time with the second unit. Pritchard shot 35.5% from 3-point range in the postseason.
Smart played the last round against the Bucks with a thigh injury, and missed Game 2 when it flared up. Smart initially suffered a thigh contusion in the regular season, missing 11 games. Heading into the Eastern Conference finals, the thigh seems to be in good shape, but it’s the foot injury that’s the cause of concern for both Smart and the Celtics.
Through 10 postseason games, Smart averaged 15.0 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. He also connected on 35.4% of his 3-point attempts.
Smart scored 21 points and knocked down five 3-pointers in Game 6 against the Bucks, which was a great performance that was overlooked because Jayson Tatum exploded for 46 points in the must-win victory to stave off elimination and force a Game 7.
Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.