The Boston Celtics are preparing to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, but they’ll be doing so without two of their backcourt leaders.
Marcus Smart is out until at least April 27 after he had surgery on his right thumb, while point guard Kyrie Irving will miss the rest of the season after undergoing season-ending knee surgery.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” on Thursday, providing some updates on both Smart and Irving.
Smart, who had surgery on his right thumb to repair a torn tendon back in March, is hopeful to return to the court at some point during the playoffs. Ainge wouldn’t give a specific timeline, saying he didn’t want to put any “artificial dates” on a return.
“We hope that we can win enough playoff games and be in the playoffs long enough to see Marcus back playing,” Ainge said.
The guard, who has been a crucial part of the C’s defense this season, is “dying to play.”
Ainge also was asked about the timeline of Irving’s season-ending knee injury, and how the decision was made to have the procedure. Ainge noted the C’s rested the 25-year-old at first because “rest had always helped him alleviate the pain.” The next step was to remove the wire from his knee once it was determined that rest wasn’t helping Irving.
“Everything seemed fine until the doctors found the bacteria,” Ainge said of the bacterial infection found in Irving’s knee.
The point guard consulted many different doctors, from orthopedic surgeons to infectious disease doctors to see what the best course of action would be. Ainge said they decided on surgery because the screws needed to come due to the bacteria.
The Celtics host Game 1 of their first-round series against the Bucks on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.
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