Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart said doctors told him to play the lottery after he avoided what could have been a season-ending injury when he punched a glass picture frame out of frustration last month in Los Angeles.
Smart, who returned to practice Wednesday after missing Boston’s final 11 games before the All-Star break due to right hand lacerations, detailed how doctors pulled a large shard of glass from his palm that narrowly avoided shredding two tendons near the pinky on his shooting hand.
“[Doctors] said the two tendons that ran along the pinky area, the main tendons, and literally the glass was sitting right in between them. So, [the doctors said],’You should go play the lotto or something because you missed your tendons,'” Smart said. “They don’t understand it. They don’t really see how. So I thank God for that every day. It could have been worse.”
What would have happened if glass had cut the tendons?
“I probably would have had to have surgery,” said Smart. “I would have been done for the year.”
“Hopefully, it’s a good lift. He’s been a key part of our team for four years now,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Not only does he add what he adds, but he knows what’s going on to the nth degree because he’s been around here for so long. Obviously, having him out at practice was good today. That always raises the energy level when you have someone new at practice.
It’s not too crazy to make the case that losing Marcus Smart for the season –if he had simply wound up a little bit differently when swinging at the picture frame in his LA hotel room– would have been more costly than losing Gordon Hayward.
The Celtics only had to adjust to 2 minutes of playing with Hayward in the lineup. Marcus Smart spent the first half of the season as an integral part of the Celtics’ success. No Smart could have left Brad Stevens at a loss for how to get the team’s defensive swagger back. I’m sure he still spent much of the last week tinkering with line-ups and schemes to ensure the team returns with its recently missing intensity on defense, but getting Smart back makes that job a lot easier.
Marcus Smart isn’t going to save this team– and let’s not forget that even while the Celtics were streaking, Smart was polarizing to fans and pundits alike who shuddered at the thought of him shooting, but couldn’t imagine late game possessions without him.
The Celtics desperately need a boost, some would say a lineup change. They’re getting both on Friday night in Detroit, and it’s wild to think that it was inches away from not happening.
Herald — Marcus Smart puts team first in return to Celtics | CSNNE — Smart fortunate to be returning this season | Mass Live — Marcus Smart ‘devastated about slippage during absence, hopes to learn from self-inflicted injury
On page 2, Brad imparts wisdom on the Sox
Upon introducing himself to Alex Cora, the Red Sox manager asked Stevens to speak.
“I think that my biggest message was that throughout the whole course of the season, remember the vibe and the feeling you have now because we’re coming off a three-game losing streak and all you want to do is get back to work and get back to playing,” Stevens said, relaying a message from his own team’s struggles. “But nobody hasn’t been a part of the rotation yet, nobody’s not gotten their at-bats, they haven’t had a losing streak yet — all the things that goes with a long season. That’s one of the fun parts for me, and one of the reasons I wanted to go there on Day 1 is kind of the freshness of it all. And their season is double ours, I can’t even imagine how tough that is. Not only playing 162 games but they play 30 spring training games. I mean Fort Myers is nice but 192 games before the playoffs seems like a bit much, I don’t know. I’m not a baseball expert.”
Sage advice from Stevens who, you know, might have been thinking of last year’s miserable Sox team when addressing this season’s outfit.
Also, glad to see that the pragmatic Stevens also took the time to call out the absurdity that is the interminable baseball season (not to mention the interminable baseball game).
Brad also let the team know about his last baseball game as a kid:
“I got picked off,” he said. “So I wasn’t qualified. The last play of my career.
“I told them like I am not qualified to speak to a baseball team,”