Marcus Smart continues to make progress on his return from a torn oblique, but has officially been ruled out of Game 3 of the Boston Celtics series with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Celtics will have to go at least another game without Marcus Smart, who was ruled out for Game 3 of Celtics-Bucks Thursday.

Smart was originally ruled out for four-to-six weeks with a torn oblique he suffered in a late-season game against the Orlando Magic, and this upcoming Sunday marks the official four-week mark. Game 4 could be the game Smart comes back, which should be a big game regardless of how Game 3 turns out.

There might have been some hope Smart could make it back for Game 3 on Friday due to the videos floating around chronicling his recovery. If there’s one thing Celtics beat reporters know how to cover, it’s an injured player’s recovery.

Two weeks ago, Smart said he was having trouble laughing, coughing or sneezing without pain., so the fact that he’s engaging in contact activity is a good sign he’s close.

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

The Celtics have done quite well without Smart in the lineup, dropping their first game of this year’s postseason on Wednesday in Milwaukee. However, if the Celtics are going to go as far as the NBA Finals they’ll need Smart back at some point. If Boston can get a win in Game 3 at home and then return Smart in Game 4, it’d be tough for the Bucks to avoid a 3-1 deficit going into Game 5.

I’d expect everyone to have a better idea on Smart’s return by the end of this weekend. If he can’t come back by Game 4 I’d start to worry about getting him back before the conference finals, and if he can’t go in Game 5 I’d almost rule it out completely.

Game 3 of Celtics-Bucks will tip on Friday at 8 p.m. EST at TD Garden as Boston looks to rebound from their Game 2 loss and retake control of the series.

Photo credit: Fox Sports Asia

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