C's Expect Smart, Crowder To Be Available Tuesday

BOSTON - Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder are expected to be available for the Celtics when they take on the Bucks Tuesday night in Milwaukee, Brad Stevens said prior to Sunday afternoon's practice.

Neither Player was expected to participate in the afternoon session.

Smart and Crowder each suffered lower-body injuries over the course of the past week. Smart first headed to the injury list on Nov. 3, when he began to experience pain in his left big toe the day after Boston’s loss to San Antonio. Crowder then went down with a bruised left knee during the final minutes of Boston's blowout victory over the Wizards Friday night.

Smart was unavailable for comment Sunday afternoon. Crowder, meanwhile, said that he has felt stiffness in his knee all weekend.

“I’m a little sore, which is expected,” he told reporters. “I got treatment two times yesterday and I’ll get some more today.”

Stevens confirmed that Smart and Crowder will both start if they are active against the Bucks. However, if they are unavailable, the C’s will need to turn elsewhere.

Fortunately for Boston, depth is one of its greatest strengths. Stevens is not worried one bit by the possibility of playing sans Smart and Crowder for a game or two.

“We prefer to have our whole team available,” Stevens said, “but at the same time, we’ve got good depth in those spots and guys that are very reliable.”

The coach went on to credit two players, in particular, who could fill Smart and Crowder’s respective roles.

“Having Isaiah (Thomas) come off the bench at the seven-minute mark or start a game is a great advantage,” he said. “Having Evan Turner, whether he needs to start for Jae or whether he comes off the bench adds another layer of things that we can do.”

Thomas, who has started the last two games, and Turner, who has come off the bench for all five of his appearances this season, are each coming off of 16-point performances against Washington. Thomas is an electric scorer who is also dishing out nearly seven assists per game this season. Turner, meanwhile, is Boston’s Swiss army knife; he can play and defend multiple positions, facilitate the offense and score in isolation.

The belief, at least for now, is that Thomas and Turner will be able to slot into their standard roles off of the bench come Tuesday night. It appears that Smart and Crowder will start, making the Celtics whole for just the fourth time this season.

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