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Marcus Smart (toe) not quite ready for return

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart participated in small portions of Monday's practice, but lingering pain in a sprained left big toe is expected to keep him out of Tuesday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Smart said he did not expect to travel with his teammates to Milwaukee on Monday afternoon, but said he's targeting a return later in the week. The Celtics host the Pacers on Wednesday and Hawks on Friday.

"I felt pretty good today out there," said Smart, who engaged in his first practice activities since the injury flared last Tuesday. "I was responding to treatment, the orthotics that I got and everything. They just wanted to make sure -- better safe than sorry. Give it another day to rest and try to get better than what I am today."

Smart, who has missed the past two games, said he doesn't want to aggravate the injury and extend his absence.

"It’s a ligament that’s sprained, so it’s kind of hard to get around that," said Smart. "You’ve kind of got to let it do its job and run its course."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Sunday that he hoped to have Smart back for Tuesday's game, but noted that Smart didn't look particularly confident in the toe at Monday's practice.

"I think that he just didn’t look quite 100 percent, he had a little limp," said Stevens. "I don’t know if that’s like trusting it and a confidence issue or lingering pain, I don’t know if it could be extra padding that’s in there, so I don’t know the answer to that."

Said Smart: "Today was more of just checking to see where I was and it felt good. And I responded to treatment and the medicine that they’re giving me. But like I said, they just wanted to make sure, give me another day, few days to rest, to try to help and see what it does."

When asked about a return later in the week, Smart added, "That’s the plan. From the looks of it, that’s where I’m heading. These next couple days of treatment and rest should help me with that."

Smart, who missed time early in his rookie campaign last year due to an ankle injury, admitted it's not easy to be off the floor again.

"It’s extremely tough," he said. "I am a competitor and everybody out here wants to play, and when that shot is taken away from you, you definitely feel a certain type of way about it. But, you know, it’s part of the game, injuries, so you’ve just got to let these guys do their job and try to help you get better."

Smart also said he's still unsure how exactly the injury happened.

"It’s still kind of up in the air, mystery, don’t really know," he said. "It just kind of came. Flew into Indiana [last Tuesday] and woke up from a nap and asked for treatment because my toe was feeling really sore. So it’s a mystery for everybody."

Jae Crowder, who suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in Friday's win over the Wizards, practiced Monday and is set to return to the starting lineup against the Bucks. It would seem likely that Isaiah Thomas will stay in the starting lineup, but Stevens noted that Evan Turner will also get extended time handling the ball against a long and athletic Milwaukee squad.

"Coach told me before the season I have to be ready to do different things depending on the matchup, or who’s healthy or not," said Turner. "Once again, I’ll be fine. I think [rookie point guard] Terry [Rozier] had a couple good days of practice as well. I think he’ll grow with confidence as well. It will be huge for him to get minutes [handling the ball]. And the biggest thing is just getting on a run and getting on a roll. And just trying to string off some wins."