Marcus Smart says 'strong likelihood' he returns for Celtics vs. Bucks Game 3

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Smart says 'strong likelihood' he returns for Celtics vs. Bucks Game 3 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart sounded optimistic Thursday when asked if he'll be ready to go for Game 3 of his team's second-round NBA playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

"Strong likelihood that I should be back for Game 3," Smart told reporters. "We're just dealing with the last part of it, and that's getting that restriction of the knee and the joints so I'll be able to bend it. Once that goes away, I should be back to myself."

Smart injured his thigh during Boston's Game 1 loss to Milwaukee last Sunday and didn't play in Game 2 with what the team described as a right thigh contusion.

"Anybody who knows me understands if I'm going to miss a game, especially a playoff game, something really has to be wrong with me," Smart said.

Tomase: Derrick White may actually be key to Celtics becoming unstoppable

The Celtics beat the Bucks 109-86 in Game 2 without Smart. They got great defensive contributions from Grant Williams, Derrick White, Al Horford and others, which helped overcome the loss of the league's Defensive Player of the Year award winner.

The Celtics and Bucks have three days of rest between Game 2 and Game 3. This extra time off is huge for Smart, Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (hamstring) and any other player in the series dealing with some sort of injury or other issue.

Tip off for Game 3 is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.