CANTON, Mass. — Recent months have been a little bumpy for Marcus Smart.
While playing for Team USA this summer, the Boston Celtics guard dealt with a calf strain and left quad strain, forcing him to miss time. It was abundantly clear both he and Team USA were going to proceed with caution, and going into C’s training camp it appears he’s good to go.
But with those recent injuries came a slight change of mindset for Smart.
Over the years, Smart has hung his hat on being a gritty player. That’s not only because of his penchant for playing with energy and diving for balls left and right, but also his willingness to gut things out and play when not necessarily 100 percent. However, that might change now, and Smart shared why during Celtics media day Monday.
“Yeah, I’m getting older, I’m getting old” Smart said. “Your body takes a little bit longer to recover now as you get older, back probably when I was a little bit younger I probably would’ve tried to play through the calf injury and probably would have caused even more pain and probably something else worse. For me, this year is really just being that veteran player and understanding when to push it and when not.
“Everybody knows how hard I am, how tough I am, and sometime I feel like that gets the best of me where I feel like I’m hurt and could probably still play through it, and I’m probably risking it by going out there and trying instead of just giving myself that time to recover and get back 100 percent.”
The Celtics, plain and simple, are a different team when Smart isn’t around. So though him taking things slow when he’s banged up might be a change of pace, it likely will be a prudent long-term move.