While the severity of Marcus Smart’s left ankle injury has yet to be determined, one thing was certain Friday night at TD Garden: the rookie guard has already won over his Boston Celtics teammates and coaches.
Smart was carted off the court on a stretcher after stepping on Lavoy Allen’s foot during the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ win over the Indiana Pacers. As the Celtics awaited the results of an MRI and x-rays, they expressed worry and care for the 20-year-old who is just starting his NBA career.
“Obviously (there is) a great deal of concern for him, number one,” head coach Brad Stevens said. “Hopefully he can get back sooner rather than later 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. That’s what we hope it is.”
The Celtics selected Smart with the sixth pick in this year’s NBA Draft. He came to Boston with a reputation for being a tough-nosed, resilient player and quickly showed he could compete at the pro level.
Smart’s teammates spoke to his character and determination they have seen in this short time.
“It was very difficult,” Jeff Green said of seeing Smart get hurt. “You hate to see a teammate go down, especially when he’s playing well. Marcus is a soldier, though. He’s going to get himself back together quick. I know he’s going to work hard to get back.”
Said fellow guard Phil Pressey, “We all felt bad for him, but we know he’s a strong kid. He’s going to come back from it and no doubt that he’s going to be stronger than he was before.”
Smart is averaging 6.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 20.2 minutes this season. He came into the league ready to battle, and the Celtics believe he will fight his way through this injury.
“You hope for the best,” said Stevens. “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.”
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