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Celtics notes: Marcus Smart optimistic about playoff return, Marcus Morris fined for 'verbally abusing' official

Alex Reimer
March 20, 2018 - 3:51 pm

The Celtics are in tough shape right now, but they should recover in time for the postseason.

Most importantly, point guard Kyrie Irving, who’s been out of the lineup due to his banged up left knee, is on the verge of returning. Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters Monday there was a chance Irving was going to play late next week, but ultimately decided to pull back. (Update: Irving is headed for a second opinion on his knee. Never mind.) 

Jaylen Brown is still nursing a concussion too, but he’s expected back in the coming days.

The biggest question going forward is Marcus Smart, who underwent surgery last week on his torn right thumb. He spoke for the first time since his surgery at Young Game Changer bowling tournament in Boston, and said he’s aiming to return for the playoffs.

“When I first got the injury, I thought it was a sprain, so I played with it,” Smart explained, per “But once the adrenaline came down, I kind of felt it. When we went to get evaluated and they told me what it was, it kind of scared me a little bit. I’ve never had a season-ending injury. But for them to say there’s hope I could possibly return sooner than later, that was a big relief off my shoulders.”

The Celtics say Smart will be out 6-8 weeks, which means he’ll be able to suit up at the end of April –– just in time for the second round.

With all of these injuries, forward Marcus Morris has emerged as one of the Celtics’ go-to options off the bench, averaging 16 points per game this month. But his increased playing time may be intensifying his emotions. Morris was fined $15,000 Tuesday for “verbally abusing” an official at the end of the Celtics’ loss to the Pelicans Monday. Morris was charged with a technical foul at the end of the contest.