Thursday, 25 April, 2019


Celtics’ Jayson Tatum hopes to play in Game 1 of playoffs

Marcus Smart Marcus Smart
Noah Ferguson | 14 April, 2019, 02:28

Ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics, who tote a 49-33 record, will face the resilient 48-34 Indiana Pacers in the opening round of the playoffs.

Per an official statement from the Celtics, Smart is expected to miss between four and six weeks as an afternoon MRI revealed a "partial avulsion of his left oblique abdominal muscle off of his iliac crest".

This news delivers a huge blow to the Boston Celtics.

Tatum played in 79 games this season, averaging 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals over 31.1 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor, 37.3 percent from 3-point range and 85.5 percent from the free-throw line. Although they enter with home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, head coach Brad Stevens will have to shuffle his lineup once again after finally finding continuity with the five-man lineup of Smart, Aron Baynes, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving.

Smart, 25, has had a career season for the Celtics, after signing a four-year, $52 million contract as a restricted free agent last summer.

Smart sustained the injury in a game against the Orlando Magic on Sunday, and he did not play Tuesday at the Washington Wizards. Trying to crash down into the paint on defense, Smart collided with Magic big man Nikola Vucevic and immediately crumpled to the ground in pain. Eventually, he got to his feet and, with the help of trainers, hobbled to the locker room. He's also one of the team's best on-ball defenders.

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