BOSTON — Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he lacerated his right hand after punching a glass picture frame out of frustration over his play, and despite trade whispers surrounding his name, he said he expects to be back on the court with Boston after the All-Star break.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since injuring the hand last month in Los Angeles, Smart said it was anger over missing a last-second shot against the Lakers during Boston’s season-worst four-game losing streak that led him to punch the picture frame at the team’s Beverly Hills hotel.
Smart required 20 stitches but doctors told him he was lucky to avoid more serious damage. Smart is hoping to return to action later this month after the skin heals on the back of his right hand.
“Frustration with myself and everything that was going on — it got the best of me,” said Smart. “When you get frustrated and get kind of angry, you don’t really think straight and this happens. Stuff like this happens. It’s just something that we have to learn from and move on. The hand is healing very well. I’ll be back soon and I’m just blessed that nothing more serious happened to it.
“I punched a picture frame, literally. When I punched it, I instantly looked at my hand and couldn’t believe it. It was a pretty deep cut, lacerations. I had a couple stitches. Everything happened so fast, it was kind of breathtaking at the moment. Like I said, we’ve all been frustrated, we all get upset. I’m not the only one who has punched something or have done something where you cause injury to yourself or things like that.”
Smart suggested his frustrations had nothing to do with any other off-the-court issues.
“Off the court had nothing to do with it, which a lot of people probably think it was but it really wasn’t,” said Smart.
Smart’s absence has left the Celtics dangerously thin on ball handlers, especially with Kyrie Irving missing the past three games with a quad injury. Point guard Shane Larkin is also sidelined indefinitely with knee soreness.
Third-year guard Terry Rozier has used the opportunity to showcase his progress, posting a triple-double in his first career start versus the Knicks last week then following it up with a 31-point outing on Friday against Atlanta.
Smart’s incident combined with Rozier’s emergence may have contributed to Smart’s name being included in trade whispers. Smart said he doesn’t think his outburst contributed to his name being included in rumors.
“I’ve been in trade rumors since I’ve been in the league. It happens. It’s business,” said Smart. “Nothing’s written in stone until it happens. We just kinda see how it goes, but I’m not worried about it. I don’t think the trade rumors is because of my hand or anything like that.”
Smart’s former teammate Evan Turner, in town with the Trail Blazers on Sunday, went to bat for Smart.
“Smart’s the best dude you’ll ever meet, man. He’s a great dude,” said Turner, who often paired with Smart in Boston’s second backcourt unit. “And how he plays is how he lives. He’s a kind-hearted, balls-to-the-wall, hands-to-the-wall type of [guy].
“I know people are upset but that’s Marcus Smart, man. He’s the same dude that will break his rib for you for a loose ball up 20. You know what I’m saying? So it’s a tough situation, but that dude is a great person, a great individual. If he could be out there with stitches he’d still go out there. “