Marcus Smart made the Christmas Day trip to Canada to watch the Celtics win their first game in Toronto in five years. It was a sight for sore eyes. Literally.
Coincidentally, the last time they beat the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena, it was Smart’s heads-up chip in at the buzzer that won the game:
The last time the Celtics won in Toronto was April 4, 2015, when a rookie Marcus Smart made this hot-potato game-winner. Smart is the only player remaining from that team. pic.twitter.com/w2Hv4p8dfB— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) December 25, 2019
It’s those intangibles that the Celtics have been missing over the last seven games (5-2) that Smart has been out. Thankfully, his extended absence could be over soon.
Smart has been dealing with viral conjunctivitis that started in one eye and eventually migrated to his other over the last three weeks. This has not been one of your typical Smart battle wounds that have taken him out for long stretches in the regular season. Smart has missed time with a torn thumb tendon and strained oblique, but this eye infection might have been his worst ever and threatened the loss of some of his vision or even complete blindness.
“Hell. Just really, really painful and really not knowing — I thought I was going to go blind for a while,” he said. “I think it was the worst case of viral conjunctivitis that they’ve seen. So basically I was a guinea pig to see how to handle this if it ever happens again to anybody else. But it was the worst pain that I’ve been through in a very long time. I don’t wish it on anybody.”
His recovery included wearing sunglasses for a week, discharge and “bleeding tears” from his eyes, and bleaching his entire home.
Smart calls himself “80 percent.” Bright lights still give him trouble. The infection did a number on his entire body and caused him to lose weight, so he’ll need to get into game shape before a return to the court. He wanted to give it a go today, but Friday in Boston against the Cavaliers could be a possibility, too.