Celtics Notebook: Jayson Tatum expects to play Game 1, Marcus Smart’s timeline remains uncertain

(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

BOSTON -- The Celtics kicked off their first of three practice sessions in the upcoming week on Wednesday, ahead of the team's playoff opener against the Pacers (likely Sunday afternoon). The team was at close to full strength for the hour-long session with Jayson Tatum makes his return to the floor after missing Tuesday's game against the Wizards to rest his shin contusion. The early returns on his recovery were positive from both the head coach and the player himself.

"Tatum went through all of practice, we didn’t do anything live but he looked good at what he could do," Brad Stevens said. "He’s in there getting treatment right now and every indication is he should be good to go in practice tomorrow. We’ll see -- it’ll be modified still but hopefully, he’ll be able to play when this weekend comes."

The 21-year-old forward has been one of the most durable pieces on the Celtics' roster for the past two seasons, missing just five combined games due to rest or injury since 2017. There was plenty of mystery surrounding his injury after he subbed himself out of the Magic game following six minutes of action on Sunday night, but Tatum did his best to clear up the origin of the ailment.

"I mean, it had a lot to do with just being sore," Tatum explained. "But I hit my knee against something, and I felt good the other day when I was warming up and working out, but it really started to bother me during the game. So I got it checked out. I feel way better today, I got a chance to practice today, so just feel better and better every day."

While the temptation will be for Tatum to get back on the floor immediately, he knows he needs to exercise caution now, particularly with plenty of additional days to recover ahead of a long postseason grind, even though it goes against his usual mentality.

"Not trying to rush anything. I usually play. I hate sitting out games. I try to play every game of the season, but it was really bothering me. I knew that if I took myself out the game, I was really in pain," Tatum explained.

The news is not as good on Marcus Smart. The starting guard is still sidelined with a bruised oblique but was not able to take part in activities on Wednesday.