The Boston Celtics have a firm date when Marcus Smart is going to return
The Boston Celtics were just devastated by recent news that Kyrie Irving would not be returning in the playoffs, and now they have announced that everything appears to be on track for Marcus Smart, who should return to game action by April 27th (Via CelticsBlog).
The Celtics have been anticipating a return for Smart at some point, but this is the first time we are getting actual details on when he is going to return, and it is right within the initial time frame that was given.
In fact, this is actually the earliest that was predicted for Smart to return. The 27th marks the six week mark in his recovery, that was originally given a six-eight week time frame. The Celtics need all the help they can get, and Smart wants to get out there and make sure he leaves a mark in his last moments before becoming a free agent.
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The Celtics need to figure out how much they can spend on Smart, and Smart wants to drive up his value as much as possible. He might not end up with enough time to really leave any kind of mark.
This means both that the Celtics know Smart will not be returning for the first round, but they are also now assured that he will be back prior to the second round starting on the 28th. The timing is certainly not a complete coincidence, and this will take out the risk of Smart disrupting too much during a first round series.
It will be a lot easier for the Celtics to reintegrate Smart with a fresh series on the horizon, because Brad Stevens will have to adapt quite a bit no matter who he is playing with such a young and unsettled roster.
A lot of people do not see the Celtics getting out of the first round, but they will certainly have the confidence that they will be able to give Smart another chance to see the court.
At this point, getting out of the second round is not what the Celtics want to be thinking about, but knowing their best defender will be returning for that second round is just a bit more incentive for them to get that winning effort in the first round.