Watch CBS News

Danny Ainge Gives Update On Marcus Smart, Recalls Famous Fight With Tree Rollins

BOSTON (CBS) -- It was a scary scene for the Boston Celtics last Friday night, as rookie point guard Marcus Smart collapsed to the floor in pain following a collision on the court.

Smart needed to be carted off the court, but luckily an MRI revealed just a bad sprain and a bone bruise and he's expected to be back in a few weeks.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich for his weekly call into the show on Thursday morning, and said Smart is progressing well in his recovery.

"(He's) probably still a couple of weeks from today, so three weeks from when he injured it.  But he's progressing very well," said Ainge. "We won't put him out there until he's ready to go."

While he's just five games into his NBA career, Ainge has seen the difference Smart can make with his dynamic defense and leadership in the locker room.

"Not only is he a good teammate but a good player. We could have used his defense last night. He's a great person to have in the locker room and an energy provider in the locker room and on the court," Ainge said of the sixth overall pick in June's draft. "The crowd loves to watch him play, so I'm glad he's only gone for a couple of weeks."

During his playing days, Ainge was known to provide such energy. Complex magazine recently ranked the Top 25 Greatest Brawls In NBA History, and put Ainge's bout with Tree Rollins at No. 3. If you're not familiar with the fight, which led to the famous "Tree Bites Man" headline in The Boston Herald, check it out:

Tree Bites Man/Debut of Busty Heart by amcneill1992 on YouTube

Ainge talked about that tussle Thursday morning.

"Tree was setting a lot of illegal screens in that game. Earlier he had gotten me a few times, but when Quinn Buckner came in for me, he got Quinn with an elbow and Quinn went down hurt. When I got back in he got me again, so I gave him a shot in the stomach with an elbow. He came running at me so I had two choices: Here's a 7-2, 320-pound guy running at me. I could either run away, which I did contemplate, or I could go for the tackle. The adrenaline was going, so I remember picking him up and taking him down, wrestling and people started to pile up.

"The next thing I know my finger is in his mouth and I thought he was going to bite it off," Ainge recalled (he needed stitches from the bite).

"Sometimes you had to take care of things yourself," Ainge said of his decision to take on Tree. "If you did that today you'd be suspended for the entire series, probably. It's a different game today."

Ainge also shared his thoughts on evolving coaching styles, and his strong feelings towards AAU basketball. Listen to the full interview below:


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.