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But, on the eve of the NBA Finals, both players said they were ready to go for the start of the league’s championship round against the Golden State Warriors here at Chase Center Thursday night.
“It’s manageable,” Williams said of the knee soreness that’s bothered him since the conference semifinals. “Kind of been getting in a routine the past couple games, what I have to go through to have myself ready to play.”
The Celtics have officially listed Williams as questionable for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Williams has been dealing with a bone bruise in his left knee — the same knee he had meniscus surgery on in late March — that has caused soreness that forced Williams to miss the final three games against the Milwaukee Bucks in the conference semifinals and Game 3 against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
But after playing reduced minutes throughout the Heat series, Williams said he thinks that’s helped him get ready to make it through this series against the Warriors.
“Yeah, I feel like the reduced minutes helps obviously because with the injury I had, you know, not being able to take the time off, being such an important part of the season, the minute reduction definitely helped.”
Smart, meanwhile, has been dealing with a series of injuries to his right leg — including his quad, ankle and foot.
The ankle, though, was the most serious, and hampered Smart throughout the conference finals. But after scoring 24 points and playing 41 minutes in Game 7 in Miami, Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Smart will be good to go in this series, and Smart himself said if he’s playing, there’s no room for excuses.
“The ankle was a pretty serious injury,” Smart said. “I’m thankful to be able to play, let alone still be walking. It hurt, but my mom always told me, if you are going to be on the court, you can’t make excuses. If you’re hurt, then sit your tail down. If I’m going to be out there, no matter how much pain I’m in, I can’t let it affect me.”