MIAMI — Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been suspended for Friday night’s preseason finale against the Heat for a violation of team rules, coach Ime Udoka said Thursday.
“Marcus is one of our leaders and we expect a certain standard of him and he knows that,” Udoka said. “He’s remorseful. He will not play tomorrow and we’ll get him ready for opening night.”
When asked why he was suspended, Smart said he wanted to keep that “in-house.” ESPN reported that Smart missed the team flight to Orlando Monday. Smart, Jayson Tatum, Josh Richardson, and Dennis Schröder were all held out of Wednesday’s 103-102 loss to the Magic to rest.
“It’s not frustrating to me,” Smart said. “I mean, it’s frustrating I won’t be able to play, but it is what it is. Like I said, we’ll handle that in-house, and it’s over and done with and I’m looking forward to coming back to [next Wednesday’s game against the Knicks] and playing, so we’ll see.”
Udoka had planned for Friday’s game to be the final dress rehearsal involving his regular rotation players. But Jaylen Brown and Al Horford are sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19, Payton Pritchard is sidelined with a nose injury, and now Smart has been suspended.
“We won’t get to see certain lineups that we obviously wanted to see,” Udoka said. “But we have to move along. We’ve done that with Al and Jaylen out as well.
“So we just had a nice practice, added some new things for tomorrow and the week going forward, and we’ll keep it moving. Guys will have the opportunity. And then Marcus and others will catch up when they come back in the next week or so.”
Smart, 27, is entering his eighth season with the Celtics. He signed a four-year, $77 million extension in August.