Marcus Smart has been given the green light. But the Boston Celtics aren’t turning him loose just yet.
Smart was reevaluated Monday and physically cleared to return to action, Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters Tuesday morning. That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to play Tuesday night in Game 5 of the team’s first-round NBA playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, though.
“Still has to go through some things later this morning after our shootaround, then we’ll see how he feels after that,” Stevens said at the team’s practice facility in Waltham, Mass., via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “If he feels good, then he’s been cleared physically to go. If he has any pain or anything comes up, then we’ll hold him out.”
Smart said Sunday he planned to get an evaluation on his injured thumb Tuesday in New York, but it appears that appointment was bumped up a day. The Celtics upgraded his Game 5 status to questionable Monday night, perhaps as a result of Monday’s evaluation.
Boston could use Smart’s defense and energy after dropping two straight games in Milwaukee to tie the series at 2-2. Yet the club still is exercising caution with the 24-year-old — who hasn’t played since March 11 — and will run him through drills Tuesday before determining his official status.
“He’s really excited to play, but at the same time, we’ll see how he feels,” Stevens added. “If he has any lingering effects at all after going 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 (after shootaround), then we won’t play him.”
It appears one of Smart’s teammates already is banking on the guard’s return, though.
Game 5 is set for 7 p.m. ET at TD Garden.