Boston Celtics Coach Ime Udoka, left, has reportedly suspended Marcus Smart for Friday’s final preseason game. Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics have suspended Marcus Smart for breaching team rules, Celtics Coach Ime Udoka confirmed Wednesday.

Udoka said Smart broke one of his rules and that he’ll be ready for opening night on Wednesday against the Knicks. Smart said it was handled internally, adding it’s “between us and the team.” Boston plays its final preseason game Friday in Miami and that will be Smart’s suspension.

“It’s internal,” Udoka said of the suspension. “We’ve handled it. He’s remorseful and we hold Marcus to a high standard. We’ve made it clear from Day 1, so he’ll obviously be out (Friday) night. He’s with us here on the trip. Just look forward to moving on from this growing and obviously abiding by the team rules and principles. Marcus is one of our leaders that we expect a lot from, he understands that.”

Smart was on the Florida trip to Orlando and Miami, but the issue appears to be travel-based. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Smart was suspended because he missed the team flight.

Against Miami, the Celtics will be without Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, both of whom tested positive for COVID-19 and are in quarantine. Udoka said they expect Brown to return ahead of the regular season, but Horford’s status still remains up in the air because of the quarantine timeline.

Smart sat out Wednesday’s preseason game because of rest, joining Jayson Tatum, Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson as the veterans on the bench. His suspension means that he won’t see the court until the regular-season opener.

KYRIE IRVING said late Wednesday he didn’t want to lose salary or a chance to compete for a championship with the Brooklyn Nets, but was doing “what’s best for me” by refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Nets decided Tuesday that Irving wouldn’t be with the team because he isn’t eligible to play in home games, where a New York mandate requires professional athletes on one of the city’s teams to be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues. Speaking on Instagram Live, Irving said he loved basketball and wasn’t going to retire.

“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is,” Irving said. “That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”

Irving would have been able to practice with the Nets and play in road games outside New York. The Nets will pay him for those but he is giving up about half of his $35 million salary by missing the home games.

“So what? It’s not about the money,” Irving said. “It’s not always about the money. It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money?”

Irving said he supported people who were and weren’t vaccinated and expressed appreciation for doctors. The All-Star guard didn’t give any indication that he was against being vaccinated, just that he was deciding not to.

“Once again, I’m going to repeat this. This is not about the Nets, this is not about the organization, it’s not about the NBA, it’s not politics,” Irving said. “It’s not any one thing. It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.