MIAMI – Marcus Smart hopes to play. Al Horford is trying to get back. And Derrick White headed home early, for a very good reason.
The Boston Celtics hoped to bring back at least one of their missing starting points for the second game of the 2nd Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night. Smart’s mid-foot sprain has improved to such an extent that the Celtics expect him to be able to play in the second game of the series against the Miami Heat.
Harford, as of Thursday afternoon, remained on NBA health and safety protocols, and the Celtics were preparing for him to miss the second game in a row. But there was good news from Boston’s point of view – on Thursday afternoon Horford’s status was raised from questionable to questionable, which added more hope that he will be able to play in Game 2.
“We are not sure of his status until some test results return,” said Celtics coach Imo Udok about an hour before Horford’s chances of playing were boosted.
And White, who started and played 29 minutes in Boston’s 1-game defeat to Miami on Tuesday in the first game from Miami, will not play in Game 2. He left Miami early due to the impending birth of a child.
“You don’t want to say it’s a difficult situation. We knew he was expecting a baby soon, “Udoka said.” Things happen in life and we always support our boys. “
Smart is the active defensive player of the year in the league. A foot injury occurred Sunday in the 7th game of the Eastern Semifinals against Milwaukee. He tried to prepare in time for Game 1 on Tuesday, but to no avail.
“He looked good,” Celtics guard Grant Williams said after the team’s morning training session on Thursday.
Horford is in the minutes for the third time this season. He missed the start of the Celtics ’regular season, then missed five more games in December and was ruled out of Game 1 just a couple of hours before the tip.
“We weren’t ready to play without Al,” said Celtics center Daniel Theis.
The Celtics coach also returned on Thursday. Udoka missed a scheduled media session on Wednesday due to what the team called a non-COVID-related illness, but said he was doing well on Thursday.
Miami will be left without Kyle Lowry for the eighth time in the last 10 playoff games as long as he continues to recover after a hamstring sprain. The Heat named starting at the back zone Gabe Vincent – a replacement for Lowry – and Max Strus as questionable in Game 2 with their own hamstring problems, but both planned to play.
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