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Marcus Smart “making real progress” in recovery

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Boston’s going to need Smart to be able to walk and breathe normally without pain before he returns.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Smart, missing time with a torn oblique muscle, spoke to the media today for the first time since he was officially diagnosed.

This is great news, though it obviously isn’t enough to signal a return to game action any time soon. For a week after the initial injury, Smart couldn’t walk or do things pain-free, so that’s extremely not ideal. The Celtics have to take his recovery day-by-day and celebrate the small victories as they come. This is one of them.

Boston is well on their way to making sure they’re still playing when Smart’s ready for game action after a solid victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1. Although Smart’s All-Defense production can’t possibly be recreated, the Celtics did a great job of establishing a defensive identity in their first matchup against Indiana.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Indiana’s first offensive option, was held to just 12 points on 4/11 shooting. Jaylen Brown, who started in Smart’s place, played a big role in that endeavor, forcing his defensive will on the Pacers’ offense at every turn.

Smart’s still scheduled to miss 4-6 weeks from the initial diagnosis, but Boston remains hopeful of both that he’ll be able to return quickly and properly and that they’ll still be playing by the time he’s ready to return.

The Boston Celtics take on the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals tomorrow at 8PM on ESPN.