MIAMI — Marcus Smart said when he sprained his right ankle in the Celtics’ win Saturday over the Raptors, he aggravated an injury suffered in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat last spring.
He said there is no timetable for his return and has not resumed workouts, but he hopes to be back in a week or two.
“It [stinks],” Smart said Tuesday, before the Celtics lost to the Heat, 98-95. “You’re a competitor and you want to be out there with your team. But the depth we do have is definitely going to help a lot to be able to give me that rest and time to heal. So you’re thankful for that but at the same time as a player you want to be out there.”
Smart sprained the ankle in the final seconds of the second quarter Saturday when he took a bad step after running to receive a handoff from Al Horford along the left arc. He crumpled to the ground and had to be helped off the court by two members of the team’s medical staff.
In the conference finals last May, Smart initially injured the ankle when he took a hard fall after colliding with Kyle Lowry while chasing a rebound, causing a sprain and a severe bone bruise. He missed Game 4 of that series before returning for Game 5 and playing in the Finals.
The resulting bone bruise on the outside of Smart’s ankle has lingered since then, and he said he now has a bone bruise on the inside of his foot. There is far less urgency at the moment, with the Celtics entering Tuesday with a four-game lead in the Eastern Conference.
“I just don’t want to go out there and rush back and we’re in the same predicament a couple months from now, a couple days from now, a couple weeks from now, when I do come back and it just stays lingering longer than it has to,” Smart said.
Brown watches one
The Celtics remained considerably shorthanded against the Heat. Jaylen Brown sat out to manage his recent adductor strain.
Brown missed three games with the injury before returning to face the Warriors last Thursday. He averaged 40 minutes in three games after he returned.
“Just felt like with the overextended minutes the last few games he was a little more sore than usual when he woke up today,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “So we just thought that was best.”
Malcolm Brogdon missed his second game in a row due to personal reasons, and Horford continued his routine of not playing in games on back-to-back nights.
Heat star Jimmy Butler was a late scratch due to lower back tightness.
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The loss to the Heat was the first for the Celtics on the second half of a back-to-back set. They were 7-0 coming in.
“I think our guys have done a great job of kind of just understanding the mindset of what it takes, adapting to the environment of what each game brings,” Mazzulla said. “Even if we don’t win, I think we have the right awareness in approach to each and every game. I think our guys do a good job of really honing in on that.”