The Boston Celtics will be without two significant pieces for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat Tuesday.
Guard Marcus Smart (mid-foot sprain) and forward Al Horford (health-and-safety protocols) have both been ruled out, the team announced early Tuesday evening. Smart was listed as questionable heading into Tuesday while there was no news of Horford getting placed in protocols ahead of this latest injury report.
#NEBHInjuryReport update:— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 17, 2022
Al Horford (Health & Safety Protocols) - OUT
Marcus Smart (right mid-foot sprain) - OUT
Losing both Smart and Horford is significant — as both are very important cogs to Boston’s rotation. Horford was one of its top two-way players in the Bucks series, averaging 13.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks in 39.0 minutes per game against Milwaukee, shooting 49.3 percent from the floor, 38.9 percent from beyond the arc and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe.
In the playoffs alone, Horford’s posted 13.0 points, 9.4 boards, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks on 52.4/45.1/83.3 shooting splits — good enough for a 64.8 true-shooting percentage.
Smart, known for his bulldog defense, has transformed into Boston’s primary initator this year. He suffered his mid-foot sprain in Game 7 against the Bucks. The defensive player of year nominee has averaged 15.0 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals these playoffs on 41.6 percent shooting, including 35.4 percent from distance and 79.3 percent from the charity stripe.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Celtics are prepared to be without Horford through Game 2; this making Robert Williams III’s return from injury — after missing four straight — even bigger, too. There’s no specific timetable for Smart, though one could assume he will be back for Game 2 on Thursday.
Boston is prepared for the likely scenario of Al Horford remaining in the league’s Health and Safety Protocols through Game 2 on Thursday, sources said. https://t.co/QsWWjKDRcq— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 17, 2022
Miami’s only notable injury (at the time of this publishing) is Kyle Lowry, who will be sidelined for his third straight game due to a hamstring injury he re-aggravated against the Philadelphia 76ers.
This is a breaking news story. We will update it when more information becomes available.