Marcus Smart Update Revealed Before Upcoming Matchup Vs. Celtics

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UPDATE (6:05 p.m. ET): The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Friday, citing sources, that Marcus Smart is expected to miss multiple weeks with a left ankle injury.

Charania later added Smart likely will be sidelined for three to five weeks, meaning the Memphis Grizzlies guard will miss Sunday’s game against his former team, the Boston Celtics.

ORIGINAL POST: Marcus Smart’s recent ankle injury isn’t a major cause for concern. However, it could delay the veteran guard’s first official game against the Celtics since Boston traded him to the Grizzlies over the offseason.

Smart landed awkwardly on his left ankle Tuesday night while contesting a shot attempt during Memphis’ In-Season Tournament matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 29-year-old made an early exit, and two days later, Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins offered the latest.

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The update came just days before Boston’s stop in Memphis on Sunday night.

“More evaluations still being done with the ankle sprain,” Jenkins told reporters Thursday, per Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “He’s with our doctors right now kind of getting checked out. Then we’ll have more of an update.”

Obviously, that doesn’t rule out Smart, and considering his competitive nature, the Celtics shouldn’t bank on him sitting out. But as the Grizzlies have collapsed early on, falling to the very bottom of the Western Conference just 11 games (2-9) into the season, perhaps playing Smart’s return with caution makes the most sense.

Ja Morant’s 25-game absence to begin the campaign was expected to make a noticeable impact, but that’s an understatement to what the Grizzlies have encountered.

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Memphis ranks 28th in scoring, averaging 108.5 points per game, and 20th in defensive rating (113.7), begging the obvious question: How can the Grizzlies be so subpar defensively with two Defensive Player of the Year winners (Smart and Jarren Jackson Jr.)?

“Defense is 90 percent effort, 10 percent skill, if that,” Smart explained during a November episode of the “Just Grizzlies” podcast. ” … To be able to do it just shows the mentality and physically, where you at and effort.”

The Celtics will tip off with the Grizzlies on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

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