Marcus Smart is one tough basketball player.
The Boston Celtics guard told reporters Thursday he plans to return from injury and play through pain Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets. Smart sprained his ankle Feb. 15 in Boston’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers. A week-plus of rest and rehabilitation, plus Smart’s extraordinary tolerance for pain, have him ready to return to action with his teammates, following the NBA All-Star break.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Smart said a video press conference, as seen in a clip NBC Sports Boston shared via Twitter. “Honestly, the night of the injury was pretty harsh for me, couldn’t put any pressure on it. But over the break (I) was able to get some sun, got in the pool and did some pool things to work on it. Swelling’s gone down. I’m just dealing with a bone bruise on it. … We did everything that we’re supposed to do to test it, check it out, make sure I’m ready to go before going out there.”
“I feel pretty confident, the staff feels pretty confident, that I’m good to go,” he added. “It’s going to linger. It’s not going to prevent me from playing, it’s just a pain tolerance issue. It’s just who I am, it’s always what I’ve been able to do.”
At that point Smart detailed the pain the injury caused him, and it sounds pretty significant.
“It’s gonna linger,” he continued. “It’s not really going to prevent me from playing. It’s just a pain-tolerance issue. It’s just who I am, it’s always what I’ve been able to do. The pain’s not too bad, though. The bruise does make it tougher for you, especially when you put your shoes on or have something compressing against that bone.
” … It’s all in just knowing your body, feeling your body out. If the pain is at a six or seven, I probably wouldn’t play. But because it’s at like a two, something I can withstand. So for me, it’s really just knowing my body. I know what I can and can’t play through and the way it will affect me in the long run.”
So Smart says putting on his shoes hurts, as does feeling pain when something compresses against it. Yet he describes this pain level as a “two.”
Perhaps it’s all relative.
Nevertheless, Smart says enduring pain is just part of life in the NBA.
“It’s kind of part of the game you sign up for,” Smart concluded. “It’s part of that contract you sign to dedicate your life to do this, to do anything of physical activity, you know injuries are going to happen, and you have to be willing to deal with the long-term consequences and hope they’re not too consequential for you.”
The Celtics and Nets will tip off at 7:30 p.m. ET at Barclays center.