Celtics' Marcus Smart doing better after dealing with 'gross' eye infection – ESPN,

Celtics' Marcus Smart doing better after dealing with 'gross' eye infection – ESPN,

, has cost him seven straight games – that was enough to make Smart smile Wednesday morning.

“Hell,” he said when asked to describe what the past few weeks have been like, while sitting in the visitors locker room here at Scotiabank Arena. “I thought I was going to go blind for a while. I think it was the worst case of viral conjunctivitis that they’ve seen. So, basically, I was a guinea pig to see how to handle this if it ever happens again to anybody else.

“It was the worst pain that I’ve been through in a very long time. I don’t wish it on anybody. But I’m here. “

Smart, who has been out sinceBoston’s winover theDenver Nuggetson Dec. 6 because of the condition, said he’s finally feeling better and is able to smile and laugh about what he has dealt with the past few weeks. hearing him describe how he was feeling made it clear that this was no laughing matter.

“So it was painful, it was burning … it was really hard,” Smart said. “I couldn’t see. I had outdoor sunglasses everywhere. Even in the dark I was wearing sunglasses. It was that bad. Just every morning I would wake up just having sticky discharge coming out of my eyes, sealing my eyes shut. It was really just gross. It got so bad that my eyes, my eyelids started forming these mucus membranes, and they literally had to go in and pry the mucus membranes out.

“I actually have a picture That I showed the guys. It was pretty gross. I was bleeding tears every time they did it, for like a day. They did that for about four days straight. The first day was probably the worst, just because it built up so much that it started to scab under my eyelids, and they had to open the scab and then pull it out. It felt like they were putting needles in my eyes. They were using tweezers and vise grips to hold my eyes and actually get into my eyelids , the bottom and top.

“It was definitely some pain, and I never want to go through it again, and, like I said, I never want anybody else to go through it. “

Smart said it was a confluence of bad luck that led him to be bedridden for most of the past two weeks, unable to even watch television because of how painful the light would be for his eyes. The combination of getting an allergic reaction and a really bad cold in the wake of that game against the Nuggets broke down his immune system – and set the stage for him to be knocked flat by this virus.

There were even concerns about his vision.

“They were so worried about it infecting my cornea and my vision, so it was really scary,” Smart said. “At first we thought it was an allergic reaction because I broke out in hives like the day before my eyes started having an allergic reaction. We caught it so early, the same symptoms came out. Then about three days later it transferred from my left eye to my right eye, and that’s when we ruled out that an allergic reaction was the cause. They said it was a virus. … It was caused by having a cold already and being sick. “

Smart said he has made it past the contagious part of the illness, has been cleared to begin working out again and is slowly working himself back into game shape. He reiterated what Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the team’s practice on Christmas Eve: that his hope is to be back sometime before the end of the month.

“I’d say about 160 percent, “Smart said of his game readiness. “I was able to get the last two days’ workouts in. I just was really getting my body back to playing shape and adjusting and making sure I’ve got my strength back and my conditioning and air back.

“If it was up to me, obviously I would try to play tonight. But with just everything happening, being more cautious than ever, and just giving myself and my body extra time to recuperate and get back into shape. “

Smart clearly wasn’t fully right, though. He still was having trouble, even in the locker room, fully opening his eyes. Doing so under the bright lights of an NBA court would take even more work.

Smart added that he still had to take two sets of special eye drops four times a day – though, he added, that was down from the three sets of them he had been taking, which he jokingly called progress. And he said he lost several pounds while he was sick because he couldn’t eat for the first week, and did little but lie in bed.

Still, it was a far cry from where he was before, and he said he’s just happy to be able to be moving past it, and closer to getting back on the court again.

“My eyes feel better,” he said. “I’m still trying to adjust to some lights. But everything the contagious part is gone. [The doctors] cleared me. They said from here on, everything should be OK. I still have to see them on kind of a daily basis so my cornea does get white-spotted behind it and mess up my eyesight.

“So it’s definitely a process . It’s an annoying process. But I’m just blessed to be able to come back and get through this. “

Gordon Haywardreturned Wednesday for the Celtics after missing the past three games because of nerve pain in his left foot.

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