Marcus Smart is making progress on his torn oblique, but the Boston Celtics won’t have him back until at least the second round.

The Celtics most likely won’t need Marcus Smart to get through the Indiana Pacers in the first round, but if they are to defeat the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks for a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals, getting Smart back as soon as possible is a priority.

After suffering a torn oblique in the second last game of the regular season (sigh), Smart’s timeline to return was about four to six weeks, placing his return in the middle of the second round. The fifth-year guard is one of the toughest players in the NBA, so most fans still hold out hope he will return sooner than the six-week mark.

On Tuesday, Smart met with the media to talk about his progress coming back from such a painful injury.

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“Today was the first day walking without grimacing, being in pain,” Smart said. “It still hurts to laugh, cough, sneeze but everyday stuff is getting better.”

That’s not exactly what you want to hear if you’re hoping for Smart to come back sooner rather than later. However, Smart didn’t seem discouraged by his progress.

“The progress is moving the right way,” he said. “That’s all you can ask for.”

Fans aren’t the only ones missing Smart on the floor. Kyrie Irving has yet to play a playoff game with his backcourt mate and has taken it upon himself to make sure that happens this year.

There are a bunch of problems with Smart out during the playoffs, but the biggest one may be the fact that his absence means more minutes for Terry Rozier. The Celtics need to cut down Rozier’s minutes almost entirely, but without Smart, they don’t really have a choice but to play him.

Hopefully it doesn’t cost the Celtics a game or two before they realize Rozier needs to sit.

Photo credit: Sporting News

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