Report: Celtics’ Marcus Smart could be cleared to play by late April

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The real question here: If you are Celtics management, how hard do you push Marcus Smart to get back for the second round of a playoff where the team will be without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward? Will the Celtics even be around for Smart to join them in the second round is a valid question.

That said, Smart could be back around the end of April from his thumb injury, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Smart is a vital part of the Celtics’ league-best defense, he is a physical defender on the perimeter that coach Brad Stevens uses against the other team’s best guard (or wing, depending on the matchup). If Boston advances to the second round, likely against Philadelphia (or a team that knocks them off in the first round), they will need what Smart brings on the defensive end.

But again, how hard do you want to push him? Boston is set up to be a top team in the East next season with Hayward and Irving healthy and in the starting lineup. Smart has a major role to play on that team. They should not risk any setbacks in a push to get him back for a few playoff games this season. They must keep their eye on the ultimate target.