The Boston Celtics were done dirty by the injury gods on Wednesday evening, as it was reported that Marcus Smart is expected to miss the first two rounds of the postseason with a torn oblique on his left side.
A first-round matchup with the ever-persistent Indiana Pacers is looming and the absence of Smart has us believing that Boston should officially be placed on upset alert.
Marcus Smart has suffered a torn oblique on left side and could be sidelined for the first two rounds of the playoffs, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 10, 2019
The fifth-year man out of Oklahoma State is a HUGE part of Brad Stevens' game plan as he's started 60 of 80 games this season, averaging a shade under 28 minutes per game. Not to mention, he brings a ton of ferocity and heart to this Celtics team.
Those are virtually irreplaceable minutes as Smart, widely known as one of the league's best on-ball defenders, is also enjoying his most efficient offensive season in the Association.
The 25-year-old is averaging 8.9 points and 4 assists while shooting 42.2 percent from the floor and a career-best 36.4 percentage from three.
Those stats, though impressive for a player like Smart, don't even tell the full story of his true value to the C's as he's often provided viable leadership skills to a team that has been desperate for a player to assume that role this year.
We could make an argument that Smart is Boston's most important player and one piece the squad couldn't afford to see go down ahead of the playoffs.
We've seen Stevens achieve success without the likes of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward just last season, but Smart was a pivotal component to their run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018. Without him, they could be looking at an earlier than expected exit this time around.