Report: Celtics’ Marcus Smart to have surgery on thumb, hopes to return for playoffs

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Ouch. This one hurts.

A Celtics team already beset by injuries — Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis, don’t forget Gordon Hayward — now has added their best perimeter defender and a key to their playoff chances to the list in Marcus Smart. His thumb injury does require surgery, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The injury occurred when Smart dove for a steal against Indiana Sunday (a game the Pacers won 99-97).

There is no official timetable for a return before the surgery, but often recovery takes about six weeks (give or take). That would bring Smart back around the start of the second round of the postseason.

While Irving and Brown certainly will be back for the postseason, if Smart is not able to return it would be a real blow.

Smart is averaging 10.2 points per game, but it’s not his offense that the Celtics would miss. He is key to their league-leading, taking on the opponents best perimeter defender nightly. The Celtics are 4.3 points per 100 possessions better this season with Smart on the court.