Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart expressed relief Saturday that he dodged a more severe injury when he dislocated two fingers on his right hand Thursday and said he hopes to be healed up by the time the Celtics open training camp in September.
Smart dislocated his right index and middle fingers falling to the floor while chasing a rebound during Thursday's win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Vegas summer league. The broadcast showed his fingers bent at cringeworthy angles while being attended to by team trainer Ed Lacerte, but X-rays revealed no broken bones.
Smart met with reporters in Vegas at halftime of Boston's 95-93 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday and said he's already on the road to recovery.
"I feel a lot better now. Not so much pain as I was feeling the first couple of days," Smart said. "They've got me working on my motion, so everything's feeling better."
Pressed on when he might be able to resume basketball activities, Smart added, "Right now, not really rushing anything. We've still got the whole summer. So just working on getting my finger strength back and getting back into training camp."
Smart, the No. 6 pick in last year's draft, aided Boston's second-half playoff push, had been one of Boston's bright spots during summer league stops in Utah and Vegas before the injury. Playing his typical full-throttle style, Smart landed awkwardly chasing a rebound Thursday, and his screams of pain could be heard throughout the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.
Smart initially feared a more daunting diagnosis.
"What went through my head, I thought I broke [the fingers]," said Smart, who wore two splints and had much of his right hand wrapped for stability Saturday. "I'm pretty sure you saw the pictures and everything -- it looked like my fingers were done. I ended up getting five stitches on my index finger; I guess it broke skin, but I didn't know that at the time until after we got them popped back in, and I saw the blood on the top."
Added Smart: "I think once the pain went away, it was more of a shock factor like, 'I can't believe my hand is the way it is.' And then once it was back in, the pain went away for the moment. And then it was the fact that now I have to deal with this therapy and everything, trying to get this strength back."
Smart joked about showing photos of the injury to teammates (most of whom regretted looking). The injury will force him to sit out an exhibition game he was scheduled to participate in next month in Africa. His focus now is on using the typically quiet month of August to get his shooting hand healthy for the start of training camp in September.
Smart projects as the Celtics' starting point guard. Boston used two summer league stops to get him increased reps at the position, and he appeared more comfortable both running the offense and attacking the basket.
Smart averaged 10.7 points, 2.3 steals, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists in three appearances in Vegas. He topped the Utah summer league by averaging 24 points per game (to go along with 7.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals in two appearances).