Brad Stevens offers encouraging updates on Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum


Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens that both Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum were expected to engage in on-court activities Tuesday in Boston, an encouraging sign that both avoided serious injury after departing early in Sunday’s loss to the Orlando Magic.

Stevens told reporters in Washington that Tatum underwent an MRI on his left shin that came back “completely clear.” Stevens also reaffirmed that it’s simply an oblique bruise for Smart and said the team will wait to see how he responds to on-court work to gauge his availability moving forward.

"Tatum actually did have an MRI that was completely clear. So we’re assuming that he should be fine sooner rather than later but, again, we wait to see how he reacts to the court,” said Stevens.

Pressed on a timeline for Smart, Stevens added, "It really depends on how he feels. I’ve heard anything from he could be good to go by practice later in the week to, if he’s got pain there or whatever the case may be, that it could be a little bit longer. They haven’t given me an exact timeline and I don’t think we’ll know that until he really gets on the court and moves around. But it doesn't sound like it’s a long-term issue.”

While the Celtics announced both players with contusions, the clean MRI for Tatum erases any worry about a potential stress fracture or worse. An ESPN report suggested that Smart had an oblique strain, which typically requires a lengthier rehab than a bruise but Stevens has stressed it’s a bruise.

The Celtics had only nine bodies on the road with Smart, Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Marcus Morris, and Gordon Hayward all previously ruled out. Jaylen Brown was deemed probable tonight but has been dealing with back spasms that have sidelined him recently. 

"Everybody that’s active will play. And i think it’s a great opportunity,” said Stevens. "We always talk about this -- there’s 82 games and your time always comes. And for these guys, inevitably, that have been a part of our rotation, they have a little bit more responsibility. And for the guys that haven’t been a consistent part of our rotation, it’s a great kinda last chance to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to be ready when called upon. 

"We talked about this morning: Semi Ojeleye is hit and miss for the first couple of games of the playoffs last year and all of a sudden he’s starting Games 5 through 7 of the Milwaukee series. Everybody has to be ready when the playoffs come because everything else is out the window. It’s who gives you the best chance of winning.”

The Celtics also signed Jonathan Gibson to fill their vacant 15th roster spot. The 31-year-old Gibson, a high-scoring wing, played four games for Boston late last season. He averaged 33.1 points per game while playing in China earlier this season.

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