Smart was a full participant in yesterday’s contact practice, so his availability today was always contingent on how his body reacted to the workout. Since he’s available, per the Celtics’ announcement, everything seems to have gone well.
Just like last year, Smart’s return is timely as returns in the middle of the playoffs come. The Celtics trail the Bucks 1-2 in their best-of-7 series, and Smart returning (before Malcolm Brogdon at that) will be a big boost to a team that’s been struggling with defense and bench production. Whether Smart starts or sits, he’ll bring more balance to the rotation among other things.
Everyone knows Smart’s a world-class All-Defense player on one end, but his return could also bode well for the offensive end. This year, Smart averaged 8.9 points on a career-high (by a lot) 42.2% shooting from the floor and 36.4% on 3-pointers along with 80.6% at the freethrow line. Smart started a career-high (by a lot) 60 games, and he played in all but the last two contests of the season.
His impact is immeasurable in all but one category: wins.
We’ll see if he can live up to his reputation tonight. The Celtics tip off against the Bucks in Game 4 tonight at 7PM EST on TNT.