Marcus Smart, starting point guard and floor general for the Boston Celtics, suffered a mid-foot sprain toward the end of the pivotal Game 7 against the Milwaukee Bucks. This casts doubt on his ability to suit up for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat tomorrow evening.
Marcus Smart suffered a mid-foot sprain in Game 7 against the Bucks, according to Coach Udoka, and is questionable for Game 1 against the Heat.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 16, 2022
Rob Williams will be available with no minutes restriction.
This is not great, but it also doesn’t appear that it’s bad enough to where they’re just ruling him out completely. The last time Smart was questionable on the injury report, he missed Game 2 against the Bucks with a right quad strain. The team was able to get it done without him, but considering how he played over the last four games of the semifinals, the Celtics would certainly prefer to have him on the court than not.
Against a team like Miami that gets up 3-point shots in a hurry (and actually makes them unlike Milwaukee), Smart’s DPOY-level perimeter defense will be crucial, especially against one of the hottest forces in the playoffs – Jimmy Butler.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Smart will test out his foot tomorrow after the MRI came back clean, revealing no structural damage. This is a reason for optimism that this issue won’t be an extensive one, and the Celtics will hopefully have their entire starting lineup ready to take on the No. 1 seeded Heat.
Smart underwent an MRI today on that right foot and the imaging returned clean, sources tell ESPN. There’s hope he’ll be ready for Game 1 and Celtics will see how it feels on Tuesday in Miami. https://t.co/pAruJK3cbN— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 16, 2022
Regardless of whether Smart can suit up or not, Derrick White while be crucial this series. Boston had no answer in the drop coverage for Tyler Herro back in 2020, but with a difference scheme and a defensive perimeter specialist off the bench in White, the latter will play a big part in mitigating the offense from Miami’s bench shooters between Herro and Victor Oladipo.
The good news is that Rob Williams is completely healthy and ready to go with no restrictions. He could have played in yesterday’s Game 7, but Ime Udoka didn’t want to mess with the winning formula. That worked out to the team’s benefit as Grant Williams tossed in seven 3-pointers, but in this series against Miami, Robert Williams’ verticality and defense will be a welcome addition to the lineup.
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals tips off tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.