Smart tore his oblique two weeks ago in a meaningless game against the Magic. I was furious with Brad Stevens playing the starters in that meaningless game, and that just got worse when Smart got hurt. I know Smart loves to play and would probably be opposed to sitting a game to rest.
The Celtics look to sweep the Pacers today, they have got a 3-0 lead without Smart. But that doesn’t mean his presence isn’t missing on the court. His tenacity and defense are unmatched. Kyrie has started to play a little like Smart but it’s not the same. The Celtics should be able to knock the Pacers off without him.
But against the Bucks (presumably) next round, Smart’s absence could be the difference in the Celtics season. The Bucks are a juggernaut led by the Greek Freak, and they have surrounded him with shooters and good defenders. Smart will be missed on the defensive end in this series, he has the ability to cover anyone on the court, he is not afraid of being matched up with a center, and he can guard some of the best guards in the league.
Kyrie after game one said, ” Oh man, I miss him so much”, when asked about Smart and how his presence is missed on the court. He dedicated the game 1 win to Smart. Smart is not a superstar, but he is a glue guy, he does the little things that a lot of guys don’t do. He has also proven he won’t take anything from anyone, he shoved Embiid, he almost punched JR Smith last year, he’s not afraid of anyone on the court. I hope and I’m sure the Celtics hope that he is back soon and healed enough to not get re-injured.
The Celtics will have their hands full with the Bucks, but it is not going to be easy for either team. A Smart return in that series is unlikely, but the Celtics are deep and have a chance to take down the best team from the regular season. If the Celtics make it past the Bucks, they might need Smart then to play most likely the 76ers or Raptors. I don’t know how confident I could be if Smart does not come back at all this postseason. I would give Smart my oblique in a heartbeat to have him be out on the court again soon.