Marcus Smart injury history and updates

Boston Celtics, NBA

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Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart endured two injuries during Game 1 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Semifinals, adding to a long list of past injuries.

The Milwaukee Bucks opened the Eastern Conference Semifinals series with a bang, defeating the Boston Celtics 101-89.

Although Giannis Antetokounmpo deserves credit playing at an MVP level, it’s also true that multiple injuries to Boston Celtics shooter Marcus Smart affected the outcome of the game.

Smart wasn’t sidelined for long, but when Game 1 was over, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka revealed that the NBA Defensive Player of the Year was more injured than he let on.

Smart remains an unknown for the remainder of this series, but considering his injury history may offer insight as to whether or not he’s dealt with this before and how quickly he typically heals up from various injuries.

Marcus Smart injury updates

As of now, Smart is set to miss Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a quad contusion.

Marcus Smart injury history timeline

Over the course of his seven-year NBA career, Smart has endured a significant amount of injuries that range from hand lacerations to oblique tears.

Quad contusion, May 1, 2022

To open up a playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks, Smart was injured by two hits: one to his shoulder and one to his quad.

While his shoulder proved to be okay, the bruise on his thigh has been a major point of concern.

Smart was officially ruled out of Game 2 for the Eastern Conference Semifinals series as of May 3.

This is how Celtics coach Ime Udoka described the injury:

“It’s bruised. I would say more than just pain tolerance, though. It’s something that’s going to be stiff. He got hit twice there and he’s had this in the past where he had to miss some games obviously this year. So it’s more so than just pain tolerance, there’s some tightness and some restriction with movement as well.”

Ankle Sprain, February 15, 2022

According to 98.5 The Sports Hub, Smart was “driving to the basket in the second quarter” when he “landed on the foot of Sixers center Joel Embiid, and instantly had trouble putting weight on his left leg.”

The team described it as a “right ankle sprain”, and Smart was out for the team’s February 16 game. He returned to the court on February 24.

COVID Illness and Reconditioning, January 11, 2022

Smart missed several games in January 2022 due to a second bout of COVID. Smart, who was one of the first NBA players to contract COVID in March 2020, missed six straight games due to his COVID diagnosis and the need to recondition after his illness.

Hand Laceration, December 27, 2021

This wasn’t the first hand laceration of Smart’s career, but it was also far from the worst. Smart endured the laceration during a Christmas Day loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Although Coach Udoka described the laceration as a “nasty cut”, Smart was back to the court by December 31.

Illness, October 29, 2021

Although Smart wouldn’t say it was the same as Jordan’s iconic “Flu Game”, he did play through an October 25 game to get a win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Unfortunately, the stomach bug that was making him sick sidelined him for an October 30 game against the Washington Wizards. In this instance, the illness Smart had ran a bit through the roster, sidelining Robert Williams, among others.

Calf Contusion, May 12, 2021

As Smart was finishing up the season, he was taken out by a calf contusion. According to Celtics Blog, this was “not the same calf that was strained in the injury he sustained at the end of January that kept him out until the All-Star break.”

Smart was out for the final three regular season games, but he returned to the 2020-21 playoffs on May 22.

Illness, April 19, 2021

Smart did not dress for a game against the Chicago Bulls due to a non-COVID illness, which also took out Kemba Walker that night.

Calf Strain, January 30, 2021

During a January 30 game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Smart went down with a non-contact injury to his calf, a telltale sign of a worrying tendon tear.

Smart was out for the remainder of the game with a strained calf, and although the injury was not an Achilles tear, the calf strain kept Smart off the court for several weeks. Smart didn’t return until March 11, 2021.

Right Thumb, January 4, 2021

According to the Boston Herald, Smart was out during a Monday game against the Toronto Raptors due to a “strained right thumb that was surgically repaired two years ago.” That would be a reference to the torn thumb tendon that Smart injured during a March 2018 game, which caused him to miss the remainder of the 2017-18 regular season.

Smart also missed that game due to a sore right shoulder.

Rest, August 12, 2020

In the delayed playoff season that resulted from the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 NBA season went into August — and the Celtics decided to rest their best six players ahead of a game with the Washington Wizards. Of course, this included Smart.

Illness, March 2, 2020

Shortly before Smart became one of the first NBA players to test positive for coronavirus on March 20, 2020, he was out with an illness on March 2.

Quad Contusion, February 2, 2020

For a February 3 matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, the Celtics were missing Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart due to injury. Smart was out with a quad contusion.

Left Hand Sprain, January 25, 2020

Before a January game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Smart was listed as questionable with a left hand sprain.

Eye Infection, December 9, 2019

Smart was sidelined with a dangerous case of viral conjunctivitis that spread from one eye to another. The infection was so serious, in fact, that Celtics Blog reported that it “threatened the loss of some of his vision or even complete blindness.” Smart even said that it was “the worst case of viral conjunctivitis that they’ve seen.”

Abdomen, December 1, 2019

Smart suffered an abdominal injury during a game against the New York Knicks when he collided with Kevin Knox as Knox drove to the hoop.

Sprained Right Ankle, November 18, 2019

Shortly after the 2019-20 season began, Marcus Smart was out with a “scary non-contact right ankle sprain.” Fortunately, the ankle sprain only had “minimal swelling” following the game.

Left Oblique Tear, April 8, 2019

Smart ended one of the healthiest and most productive seasons of his career on a disappointing note: his play was cut short by a left oblique tear. Smart, who was expected to miss 4-6 weeks, returned on May 6, but the Milwaukee Bucks still won the playoff series 4-1.

Illness, March 13, 2019

In March, Smart and Daniel Theis didn’t play against the Sacramento Kings as they were both recovering from illness. At this point, Smart had only missed one game in the entire season, which was also a result of illness.

Illness, January 14, 2019

Smart was ruled out for a Brooklyn Nets game in January 2019 with an “unspecified illness.”

Torn Thumb Tendon, March 12, 2018

Once again, Smart’s physical play resulted in injury and cost him a chance to finish the season strong. In March 2018, Smart bent his right thumb backward as he dove for a loose ball. The injury caused him to miss the remainder of the 2017-2018 regular season and a portion of the first series of the NBA Playoffs. Ironically, Smart came off the bench and helped his team take the lead over the Milwaukee Bucks, going 4-3 in the series.

Hand Laceration, January 24, 2018

Smart suffered a significant hand laceration that caused him to miss 11 games between January 24 and February 14.

According to a 2018 Boston.com report, “the 23-year-old guard cut his right hand on a picture frame after he ‘swiped at and hit a picture frame on the wall,’ according to a tweet Smart posted on Jan. 26. The incident occurred in his Beverly Hills hotel room during a Celtics trip on the West Coast.”

Smart later told Zach Lowe that this injury, which shot shards of broken glass into his shooting hand, could have ended his career. According to a 2019 Boston.com story, “the piece of glass reportedly ended up between two tendons near his right pinky, which could have been debilitating if Smart wasn’t as lucky.”

Illness, January 17, 2018

Smart, along with Guerschon Yabusele and Abdel Nader, were out with an illness at this time. Former Celtics head coach Brad Stevens reminded fans to “wash their hands” as he grappled with the sidelining of these three players.

Sore Ankle, October 20, 2017

On October 20, 2017, Smart was listed as injured with a sore ankle. According to Smart, he “injured his ankles in a collision with Jaylen Brown.”

Ankle injury, October 19, 2016

An ankle injury incurred in a preseason game kept Smart out for the season opener of the 2016-17 NBA season.

It was the same ankle that Smart sprained in 2014, but this injury wasn’t as severe. It did, however, keep him from playing until November 2.

Thankfully, Smart only missed the first three games of the season and was healthy for the remainder of the 2016-17 season.

Lower left leg injury, November 2015

Smart injured his lower left leg in late November 2015, which prompted ESPN to wonder whether or not he is “injury prone.”

Sprained big toe, Fall 2015

Smart missed three games as a result of a sprained big toe in late 2015.

Achilles strain, December 2014

Smart strained his Achilles and missed two games as a result.

Ankle injury, November 2014

Smart injured his ankle and missed 10 games as a result.

In that 2015 ESPN article, former Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the following of Smart:

“Well, hey, listen, when you get injured, it is what it is,” said Ainge. “There’s not really much speculation. At age 21, he’s shown the propensity to get injured. That doesn’t mean that that’s going to be a pattern for his whole career, but time will tell on that.”

If time is any indication, Smart’s physical play has clearly come at a cost. Not enough to keep him from winning NBA accolades, but certainly enough to get him banged up over the years.

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