Marcus Smart’s stint in “hell” is almost over.
The Boston Celtics guard told NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely he expects to return to action Saturday when Boston hosts the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden. Smart has been out since Dec. 6 due to a cold and subsequent serious eye infection.
Barring an unexpected setback, Marcus Smart (eye infection) said he plans on being in the #Celtics lineup tomorrow night when they host the Toronto Raptors.
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@ASherrodblakely) December 27, 2019
The Celtics had listed Smart as “questionable” to play in Friday afternoon’s tilt with the Cleveland Cavaliers but ruled him out of the contest prior to tipoff, extending his streak of absences to eight games.
Boston head coach Brad Stevens confirmed to the Celtics website Smart is on the verge of a comeback.
“He’ll get a good hard workout in now,” Stevens said ahead of tip-off. “And then we’ll see if he’s able to go tomorrow. But he’s making the right strides. He came in yesterday, did some full-court stuff, looked good.”
Stevens also detailed the course Smart’s comeback has taken and explained why Smart didn’t play against the Cavs.
“He really hadn’t done anything until the 23rd or 24th in a couple of weeks,” Stevens said. “So it’s a matter of making sure that not only his cardio’s up, but also it probably wouldn’t be best to start playing again in a back to back. Two days in a row would be tough. He went really hard yesterday to see how he would respond. There was a thought that he could potentially play today. We think that it’s best to make sure that he’s ready to go full-go. He’ll get another good workout. He feels good. And we’ll see what he feels like tomorrow.”
Smart on Wednesday compared his bout with viral conjunctivitis to being in “hell.” The Celtics and their fans only can be happy he’s back on solid ground again.