WALTHAM — Celtics guard Marcus Smart took part in a full practice Monday and said that he will make his season debut Wednesday against the Bulls.
Smart missed the first three games of the season after spraining an ankle in the preseason finale against the Knicks. The versatile guard is also one of the Celtics’ most tenacious defenders, and his return will give a boost to the team’s second unit, which has struggled a bit defensively.
“It feels good to be back out here with those guys,” Smart said. “The ankle was great. I can say it now, unlike last year about this time, when I was hurt and coming back.”
Smart, who averaged 9.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3 assists last season, did not join the Celtics on their recent two-game road trip. Instead, he went to the team’s training facility twice a day to work out and rehabilitate his ankle. He said he went “all out” Monday, which many believe is the only speed Smart knows.
He has no plans to be tentative upon his return.
“You just go right back to what you know,” he said. “You can’t try to baby the injury, because [it’s not good] if you start compensating for other things. You need to believe that the work you’ve been doing and the strengthening is working, and just keep going.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said that forward Kelly Olynyk, meanwhile, is not likely to return this week. Olynyk has resumed practicing but is still working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery.
“His is all about how he feels tomorrow and the next day,” Stevens said, “and just making sure that shoulder recovers after each of these sessions. But he’s on schedule for a return at some point soon.”
Young’s future cloudy
The Celtics exercised their 2017-18 rookie-scale contract options on Smart and second-year guard Terry Rozier but declined to do so with third-year wing James Young. The Rozier and Smart moves were formalities. Both have carved out important roles with this team, and Smart is slated to make $4.5 million next season, while Rozier is in line to receive $2 million. Young battled to make the team over R.J. Hunter, but his long-term future with the Celtics remains cloudy. He was slotted to make $2.8 million next season and will now have to prove his worth — either to the Celtics or some other team — over the course of the season.
Red Claws set roster
The Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, finalized their training camp roster Monday. The most notable name is rookie forward Abdel Nader, the 58th overall pick of last June’s draft. Nader was a surprise standout for the Celtics during summer league play, and since he is a “draft rights” player, no other NBA team can sign him this year. The roster also includes affiliate players Marcus Georges-Hunt, Damion Lee, and Jalen Jones, all of whom played for Boston during training camp. They are eligible to be signed by any NBA team, however.
The Celtics will have a potentially unique travel schedule in the coming days. After they face the Bulls at TD Garden Wednesday night, they will fly to Cleveland — where Game 7 of the World Series could be taking place — ahead of Thursday’s game against the Cavaliers. Then next Tuesday, on Election Day, the Celtics will fly to the nation’s capital prior to Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards.