Marcus Smart is back.
“I’m feeling good. The swelling has reduced drastically,” Smart said after shootaround in Chicago earlier this afternoon. Boston’s starting point guard returns after a two-game absence dealing with an ankle injury.
An MRI revealed a “really bad bone bruise” with no structural damage to his right ankle and no required surgery. Smart said that he assured his teammates that had this been the playoffs, he would be playing, but for the rest of the year, he’ll need recovery days here and there that could result in missed games going forward.
However, after passing a battery of tests and being able to put pressure on his ankle, he’ll return tonight against the Bulls. In Smart’s last game, he nearly single-handedly beat the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder last week. With the team down 7 heading into the fourth quarter, Smart was perfect from the floor, hitting all four of his shots including a massive three-pointer to take the lead with two minutes to go and a driving layup to seal the win in the closing seconds.
Boston didn’t necessarily need Smart over their last two road wins in Atlanta and New Orleans with the team shooting a blistering 41-of-92 from behind the arc. Smart is shooting his lowest percentage (29.2%) from 3 in six seasons, but his undeniable influence on the defensive side of the ball, leadership on and off the floor, and connection with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been missed.