We have seen multiple players suffer injuries in these playoffs, and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart is the latest. Smart suffered a nasty ankle injury during Game 3 against the Miami Heat when Kyle Lowry landed on his foot after trying to grab a rebound.
Initially, the injury looked pretty gruesome. Smart left the game, immediately going to the back with the trainers. Despite how bad things may have looked, the Defensive Player of the Year managed to return to the action. Smart went on to tally 16 points, four rebounds and seven assists in what was eventually a 109-103 loss for the Celtics.
"Must be something going on in Boston, because that seems to be a thing of guys leaving the game in agonizing pain. ... I mean Paul Pierce got wheelchaired off (in Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals). That's a whole other level."
Boston Celtics need Marcus Smart moving forward in Eastern Conference finals
Looking ahead to Game 4 on Monday in Boston, the Celtics guard is listed as questionable with a sprained ankle. Given that he was able to play in Game 3, it's fair to assume Marcus Smart will do everything he can to be on the floor for his team.
Situations like this are what makes Smart the biggest X-factor for the Celtics. Along with being their best defender, he is also the heart and soul of the group. He plays the game with heart and is always willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win.
The Celtics need Smart in the lineup if they want to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals. When he was unavailable in Game 1, it was clear how much he was missed in a 118-107 loss.
When at full strength, the Celtics are a tough team to go toe-to-toe with. Even if he isn't 100% physically, Smart can still be a difference-maker.
With each team dealing with injuries, it will be interesting to see which team pulls themselves together first to keep their finals aspirations alive. Miami holds a 2-1 series lead.