Jayson Tatum (shin) looking good; Marcus Smart (oblique)? Not so much


BOSTON -- All indications are that Jayson Tatum, who is dealing with a shin injury, will be available for the Boston Celtics’ first-round playoff series which begins this weekend.

But the status of defensive ace Marcus Smart remains very much up in the air.

The Celtics, who closed out the regular season with a 116-110 win at Washington on Tuesday, returned home for a Wednesday afternoon practice that included Tatum but no Smart.

“Tatum went through all of practice,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who added that they did not do any live work. “He looked good in what he could do. Every indication is he should be good to go for practice tomorrow.”

Said Tatum: “It’s feeling better and better everyday.”

The second-year forward has been one of the more durable Celtics since being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in 2017, missing just three games due to injury.

And with the Celtics so close to the playoffs, shutting him down to deal with this injury made sense for all involved.

“I usually play; I hate sitting out games. I try to play every game of the season,” Tatum said. “But it was really bothering me. They knew if I checked myself out of a game that I was really in pain.”

That said, I asked Tatum whether he thought he would be OK for the playoffs?

“I hope so,” said before adding, “at this rate I feel a lot better. I did the reps today, practice tomorrow, get some rest.”

As for Smart who is dealing with a left oblique injury suffered against Orlando last weekend, the prognosis for him is not as upbeat.

“Marcus did not practice (today),” said Stevens who added that, “he’s still pretty sore.”

Smart is getting treatments for the injury with no clear sign as to when he would return to practice let alone be available for Boston’s first-round series this weekend against Indiana.

“We’ll see where that leads,” Stevens said. “I don’t have any update on timelines or things like that (for Smart).”

Having Smart not available for some or potentially all of Boston’s first-round series, would deliver a significant blow to the team’s much-improved defense of late.

As the Celtics’ best perimeter defender, filling that void as well as all the intangible benefits that come with Smart’s game, will not be easy for Boston.

Look for Terry Rozier and 29-year-old rookie Brad Wanamaker to be called upon to help fill that void if Smart is unable to play or is limited.

In the Celtics’ season-finale at Washington, Wanamaker scored a career-high 17 points and seven assists (with just one turnover) in helping the Celtics rally for a 116-110 win over the Wizards.

And Rozier, getting the start with Kyrie Irving resting up for the playoffs, had 21 points (his highest-scoring game since he had 26 against the Clippers on March 11) with four rebounds and four assists without committing a single turnover.

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