4:26pm: The Celtics announced in a press release that Smart underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb. He is expected to return to basketball activities in six to eight weeks.
11:03am: The Celtics are hopeful that Smart will be able to play in six weeks, sources tell ESPN. That would put the veteran guard on track to return near the end of the first round of the playoffs, or for the start of the second round.
10:33am: After receiving a second opinion on his injured right thumb, Marcus Smart will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in that thumb, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). An exact timeline for Smart’s recovery isn’t yet known, but there’s hope that he’ll be able to return sometime during the playoffs, according to Wojnarowski.
Smart, 24, has posted his usual mediocre offensive numbers for the Celtics this season, averaging 10.2 PPG and 4.8 APG on .367/.301/.729 shooting in 54 games. However, his play on the other end of the court has had a noticeable impact on Boston’s defense. The club has a 99.4 defensive rating with Smart on the court, and a 103.6 defensive rating when he sits.
Already expected to be without Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, the Celtics would find themselves even more shorthanded if Smart is unable to return for the start of the postseason.
In that scenario, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier would likely be leaned on more heavily in the Celtics’ backcourt. Of course, Irving and Brown are currently dealing with injuries of their own, opening the door for more minutes for players like Shane Larkin and Abdel Nader in the short term.
Smart suffered his thumb injury – initially ruled a sprain – during Sunday’s loss to the Pacers.