Marcus Smart smiles as he dribbles the ball against Phoenix

Pregame Post-Ups: Important Injury Updates

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

Time for an update on the Hospital Celtics! Fortunately, this time around, the injury list has been shortened.

One night after playing without Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford, the C’s are scheduled to have three of the four back in the lineup tonight against Detroit. Tatum returns from a one-game absence due to illness, and Horford is back after missing a game with right knee swelling. Smart’s story, meanwhile, has a bit more attached to it.

Smart missed the last 11 games, dating back to Jan. 23, with a sprained right ankle. He has been rehabbing ever since, with momentum building toward his return after the All-Star break. However, he and the Celtics decided today to make it official that he can and will return tonight.

“He checked all the boxes,” Joe Mazzulla said. “He worked hard to get back, got his range of motion back, the swelling is down, the pain has decreased. He’s very confident to play.”

That’s great news for the Celtics, who went just 6-5 without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

An update on reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week Derrick White was also offered up by Boston’s interim head coach. White was experiencing right ear pain following last night’s defeat in Milwaukee and his availability for tonight was in question. Mazzulla, however, announced pregame that the do-it-all guard is available as he deals with an eardrum issue.

“He has a hole in his eardrum,” Mazzulla revealed. “So he’s managing that, but he was cleared by the specialist and he’s good and he’s ready to play.”

With Tatum, Horford and Smart back, and White’s continued availability, the only players who Boston will definitely be missing are Brown (facial fracture), Robert Williams (left ankle soreness), and newcomer Mike Muscala (right ankle injury management).