Horford (groin) ‘excited to be back' in Celtics lineup vs. Pistons


BOSTON – The Boston Celtics will be just a bit closer to being a complete team with the return of Al Horford tonight.

The four-time All-Star has missed Boston’s last two games with a sore left groin injury that occurred against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 25.

“I feel fine,” Horford said. “I’m going to play.”

When asked if he would come back and play if he weren’t 100 percent, Horford responded, “I’m not going to put a number out there for me, but I’m excited to be back.”

Horford’s return to the starting lineup means Amir Johnson will now come off the bench.

Boston’s starting five will be Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko and Horford.

This will be the second time this starting five has been used by Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

The first time was in Boston’s 120-109 win over Houston which stands as the team’s signature win this season due to the Rockets coming in with the third-best record in the NBA at the time.

In addition to getting Horford back, Avery Bradley appears to be on the cusp of returning as well.

He was on the floor prior to the game getting up shots, but Stevens ruled him out for tonight’s game. However, the team will practice on Tuesday and there’s a chance that the 6-foot-2 guard will be in the lineup for Wednesday’s highly-anticipated game against the Toronto Raptors who, along with the Celtics, are in the hunt for the second-best record in the East. 

The coaching staff of whichever team has the second-best record on Feb. 5 - two weeks before the all-star game - will coach the East all-star team.

Cleveland will likely finish with the best record in the East, but Cavs coach and former Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue coached the all-star team last year and league rules don’t allow the same coach to coach the team back-to-back years.

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