In the course of the Mut & Callahan’s critique of Brad Stevens, Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics Wednesday morning, Mut brought up a minor point about Marcus Smart being a let-down in Game 4. He added Smart needs to be more like his regular season self. There was zero disagreement from anyone when Mut made this point.
Does everyone else expect Smart to be back to form in Game 5? Because you shouldn’t. In case anyone forgot, Smart suffered his oblique injury on April 7 and was originally expected to be back in 4-6 weeks. His return in Monday’s Game 4 loss was four weeks and a day after the injury.
Official release on Marcus Smart injury: pic.twitter.com/842BJRVugA
— Amanda_Pflugrad (@Amanda_Pflugrad) April 11, 2019
He came back on the early end of the original timeline, which Brad Stevens initially said would be an aggressive move. Smart could have healed quickly, but there’s a better chance he saw his team needed him and he’s back much sooner than he would’ve been if the Celtics were still in the regular season.
But the other problem with this — and it feels like this has been lost on others discussing this issue — Smart tore is oblique. It doesn’t take a doctor to know oblique injuries are always a complicated rehab. Look at J.D. Martinez last year. He barely played through his oblique injury. The stop-and-go nature of baseball creates a different set of problems for Martinez, but even a tame NBA player wouldn’t have an easy time running around and changing directions every five seconds with an injured oblique — forget it when it comes to Smart.
Keep in mind, there’s been no indication Martinez tore his oblique. It seems players usually strain them. Smart tore his. So not only is he dealing with a muscle that’s difficult to heal efficiently, Smart hurt it worst than most others.
How can anyone expect someone to return to form on a shortened timeline knowing all of that? This is directed at everyone, not just Mut. That includes Stevens and the Celtics coaching staff. Now, there’s definitely some “morale value” — the cousin of Scott Boras’ “prestige value” — in a player returning from an injury faster than expected to help in the postseason. But the Celtics are still running a huge risk with the decision. Smart is prone to worsening his injury — assuming he can — or injuring something else while reciprocating for his oblique. There’s a reason he only played a smidge over 14 minutes in Game 4. He is not where the Celtics need him to be. Anyone who expects Smart to be more than 50 percent of what he was in the regular season is fooling themselves.
That’s not a knock on Smart either. This would apply to Kyrie Irving or Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It’s also why Smart was better off resting for the entirety of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, even with the Celtics on the brink of elimination. He might make a big play or two, but he’s not going to make that much of a difference. His body won’t allow it. In fact, with the shock value of Smart’s return gone, his presence on the floor might hurt the Celtics in more ways than he can help right now.
Full article @ Don’t expect anything special from Marcus Smart against Bucks in Game 5
Source: GreenStreet Blog