BOSTON -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens expressed optimism that the strained left Achilles that forced rookie Marcus Smart to sit out the final 35 ½ minutes of Friday's loss to the New York Knicks is a short-term injury.
Smart, who missed 10 games last month due to a left ankle sprain and bone bruising, appeared to injure his Achilles while taking a charge early in the second quarter of Friday's game and did not return.
"I don’t know what a strained Achilles means from a long-term standpoint, but I know that [team physician] Dr. [Brian] McKeon said that [Smart] should be relatively quick healing, but he didn’t feel comfortable sending him back in tonight," Stevens said.
The Celtics had been easing Smart back from his ankle injury this month, but he produced his best game as a pro on Monday in Washington. Boston got a boost from having his defense on the court and, coupled with the absence of Avery Bradley (illness) on Friday, it was missed when he limped off against the Knicks.
"[Smart is] one of those guys that helps you with getting into people and playing aggressively and those type of things, as does Avery," said Stevens. "But when those guys aren’t available we’ve got to make sure we play that way, play the right way."
Smart is expected to be re-evaluated on Saturday to help determine just how long he'll miss with the injury. Boston has the weekend off before visiting the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Smart entered Friday's game averaging 6.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2 steals and 1.6 assists over 17.8 minutes per game in nine appearances. He was scoreless in four minutes against the Knicks.