Marcus Smart ‘confident’ he’ll be ready for playoffs

By David Kenyon

The Boston Celtics will be missing Marcus Smart for the remainder of the regular season, but the versatile guard believes he’ll contribute during the most important time of the year.

Smart, who had surgery on his right thumb, said a hand specialist advised him to undergo the procedure immediately because it’s possible for him to return quickly, per ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.

“I am confident [I’ll be back for the playoffs]. I had one of the top doctors do it. The surgery was a success. Like she told me, you might as well go on and get it now. The quicker you can get it, the quicker the recovery.”

The initial report of Smart’s surgery noted “there’s hope” he would return for the playoffs. Nobody expects a player to have less optimism, but his comments confirmed there was no setback.

With or without him, the Celtics will be competitive in the postseason as long as Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are healthy.

But the team probably must survive the opening round without Smart, who averages 10.2 points and 4.8 assists while often guarding the opponent’s best scorer. If his absence lingers into the second round, Boston could be without him against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Celtics certainly hope this optimism isn’t unfounded.