BOSTON — Once again, the Boston Celtics won’t be at full strength for a pivotal matchup in the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.
Just over an hour prior to tipoff, the Celtics ruled out Marcus Smart for Game 4 after he suffered a right ankle sprain in the previous game. The C’s did get some good news, though, as Robert Williams is available to play.
For Smart, this is the second game he has missed in the series, and Boston couldn’t overcome his absence in Game 1. According to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon, Smart arrived at TD Garden about an hour-and-a-half prior to tipoff and was limping badly.
At his pregame press conference, Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Smart spent the day getting treatment rather than trying to test out his ankle to see if he could play.
“He hasn’t tested it yet. More so treatment than anything, pretty swollen,” Udoka said. “But he’s a guy that plays through a lot, so you can’t determine it based on how it looks. It’s his mobility more than anything, and he hasn’t done that yet. Just more so trying to get the swelling and pain down.”
According to Udoka, Williams is feeling better after not suiting up for Game 3 due to the lingering soreness he has felt in his left knee following meniscus surgery in late March.
“Improving every day,” Udoka said. “The extra day or two of rest, not playing obviously helps. With him, swelling is minimal, and comes and goes. … But it’s really a pain tolerance thing.”
Williams will return to his spot in the starting lineup while Derrick White will jump into the unit in place of Smart.
The Celtics and the Heat will tipoff Game 4 on Monday night from TD Garden at 8:30 p.m. ET.