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How to handle Marcus Smart’s injury for the Celtics [UPDATE]

Celtics guard is expected to play Wednesday vs. the Clippers. We break down what it means for your fantasy basketball lineup.

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart gets helped off the court in the second half of an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena.  Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (ankle) is expected to play Wednesday vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, the team Tweeted earlier today. Smart wasn’t 100% confirmed in the lineup, but it sure sounds like he is going to suit up. I’d keep an eye out on this, but for now we can operate under the assumption Smart will play.

He’s priced up pretty high on DraftKings at $6,300, mostly because Gordon Hayward is out and Smart has been starting lately. He’s been hot shooting from outside, but the Clippers will be a tough defensive draw, especially if Paul George and Kawhi Leonard (knee) are both playing. It may be a night to fade this game anyway, there are higher scoring spots we like.

The injury bug keeps hitting the Boston Celtics, with the latest victim fan-favorite guard Marcus Smart. He was injured in the Celtics’ 99-85 win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, spraining his right ankle in the fourth quarter. Smart did play 30 minutes, finishing with 17 points, four assists and three rebounds. It was good for 33.25 fantasy points on DraftKings, his fifth straight game with at least 27.25.

Who will step up for the Celtics if Marcus Smart is out?

This is a tough injury for coach Brad Stevens because it’s tough to replace someone like Smart, given his intangibles. But he had also been producing some of the best numbers of his career. Smart was starting with Gordon Hayward (hand) sidelined, playing big minutes and hitting 3’s at an elite rate (37.2% on the season).

If Smart is to miss any time, potentially Wednesday’s game vs. the Clippers, the Celtics would likely insert Brad Wanamaker into the starting 5. He played 30 minutes off the bench vs. the Suns, scoring 10 points with six assists and three steals. His defense is solid and he can shoot a bit, so that fits Smart’s skill set. Another candidate is Semi Ojeleye, who has done this type of thing before, spot starting. He’s barely a reserve player though, so he likely wouldn’t see the bulk of the minutes anyway.

On top of those two values, Jaylen Brown will be tasked with guard the oppositions best team I’d imagine. And each of Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis will play additional minutes with the rotation shorter. Wanamaker is worth an add in season-long leagues but he likely won’t produce compared to Smart.