Al Horford, Celtics due for big game after long layoff


BOSTON --  The return of Al Horford to the Boston Celtics lineup will be soon, possibly as early as Wednesday’s game against Phoenix.

And Horford, who has missed the last five games with patellofemoral pain syndrome, will be looking for a solid return - a trend among his fellow Celtics who have returned to action after missing multiple games this season.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has indicated that Horford’s issue was not one that will keep him out for a significant amount of time.

“Just to strengthen him and get him feeling a lot better,” Stevens told reporters, reminding them that Horford being shelved for a few games is similar to what the Celtics did with Marcus Morris at the start of last season.

“And make sure that he (Horford) feels great instead of going in and out like this,” Stevens said.

Horford told reporters the injury just wasn’t getting any better with while he continued playing.


So the suggestion that he miss games, while not the news Horford wanted to hear, was eventually accepted as the best course of action right now.

“I just have to listen to the training staff and what the doctors are telling me,” Horford told reporters. “I’ve got to buy into that.”

Horford has missed the last five games, and seven of the last 11. 

Fortunately for Horford, the Celtics have managed to find success in his absence with wins in four of the last five games played without him.

But the real benefit upon Horford’s return will likely be found in both his play and that of the team.

Boston returns to the floor on Wednesday after having not played since a loss at Detroit on Saturday, a solid three days in between.

This season, the Celtics are 6-1 in games in which they have at least two days in between games, with the lone loss being an early season road loss at conference-leading Toronto.


Jaylen Brown, who missed three games with a lower back bruise, returned to the floor and scored 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go with three rebounds and two assists.

Gordon Hayward (illness) missed a couple games and returned to the lineup and scored 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting, which included him making all three of his 3-pointers to go with three rebounds and five assists.

The return after missing a few games was also a solid one for Aron Baynes.

After missing three games with a right hamstring injury, Baynes had nine points on 3-for-5 shooting and five rebounds in Boston’s 108-105 win over Detroit on October 30.

Baynes would later miss two games because of a sprained ankle. In his return he had just three points with five rebounds and two assists in Boston’s 130-125 overtime win.

The only other Celtics player to have missed at least two consecutive games because of an injury or illness is Daniel Theis, who was out six games with a right plantar fascia tear. He played just five minutes and was scoreless in Boston’s six-point loss at Portland on Nov. 11.

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