Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart and Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas are both set to return from lengthy injury absences over the next two days.
Smart will play in the Celtics’ Sunday night tilt against the New York Knicks, and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he’ll be on a minutes restriction.
Smart hasn’t played since Nov. 20 because of a leg injury. The Celtics have been up and down with him out of the lineup, although they’re currently up thanks to a three-game winning streak.
The 21-year-old is averaging 9.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists while providing strong defense, although he’s only shooting 33.3 percent overall and 23.8 percent from three.
Meanwhile, Valanciunas is ready to go for the Raptors’ Monday evening game against the Chicago Bulls. The big Lithuanian has also been out since Nov. 20, except he’s been sidelined with a hand injury.
Toronto went 11-6 without Valanciunas (and nine of those games came without DeMarre Carroll as well), so they’ve had plenty of success without him, but his return should only bolster an already strong team that also just got Carroll back. The 23-year-old is averaging 12.7 points and 9.3 rebounds on the year.