Like Dave Cowens before him, will Marcus Smart's ferocious play shorten his career?

The Celtics Marcus Smart plays only one way - all out. His Boston teammates and fans love him for it, but it may have a price down the road. Diving on the floor for loose balls - taking charges - battling much-bigger opponents under the hoop. It all takes a toll, and Marcus is once again out of action for tonight's contest versus the Miami Heat with an abdominal contusion and assorted other injuries.


Dave Cowens followed a similar path five decades ago when he came into the League in 1970. At just under 6'9", he battled much bigger centers and backed down to no one. And he took a beating doing so. His NBA career only lasted 11 seasons, and he had this to say upon his retirement from the Celtics (per Wikipedia):

"I have sprained my ankle at least 30 times over the duration of my career, broken both legs and fractured a foot," Cowens said upon retiring. "Two years ago, a team of foot and bone specialists said they were amazed that I could play up to that point without sustaining serious injuries."


Dave came out of retirement to play one more season with the Milwaukee Bucks but retired for good after the lone season there. He sustained an injury in the last game of the regular season and did not participate in the playoffs.

Smart has the same bulldog mentality on the hardwood, and his injuries keep piling up. Marcus is now in his sixth NBA season, and he has yet to miss a game this year. That should change tonight as he recovers from an oblique contusion and a cold-like illness. Often called the heart and soul of his team, Smart simply fills any role offered to him, and many that are not. He does it all without complaint. Here's hoping Marcus plays as long as he wishes with no series of injuries shortening a career that gets brighter every season.

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