Pregame Post-Ups: C’s Keeping Horford on Minutes Restriction for Foreseeable Future

Wednesday, Jan. 9- Pacers at Celtics

Pregame – C’s Keeping Horford on Minutes Restriction for Foreseeable Future

BOSTON – Most NBA players returning from injury will be placed on a minutes restriction for a handful of games as they work their way back into game shape. In Al Horford’s case, who returned from a knee injury in late December, the Boston Celtics have opted to be a bit more cautious in their approach.

Horford missed seven consecutive games from Dec. 8 to Dec. 21 after being diagnosed with Patellofemoral pain syndrome in his left knee. He returned to action against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 23 and has not missed a game since.

During that time Horford’s minutes have been monitored. The team has tried to cap his minutes to a max of 25, and the only time he has gone over was when he played 30 during Boston’s Christmas Day game against Philadelphia that went into overtime.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s matchup against the Indiana Pacers, Brad Stevens announced that Horford’s restriction has gone up slightly to about 27 or 28 minutes.

"Obviously (it’s OK) if he goes 29 or 26, whatever the case may be, but we just don’t want to backlog 36-minute games back-to-back-to-back-to-back, one after another with him coming off of the knee (injury),” Stevens said ahead of tip-off at TD Garden. “He’s already played now eight straight after that, so he feels good and he looks good.”

Boston employed a similar restriction on Marcus Morris last season. The veteran forward missed the first eight games of the 2017-18 campaign with a sore knee, and came back to a minutes restriction that lasted him from early November all the way through mid-January.

“By March, Morris felt great and really played well toward the end of the season,” Stevens pointed out. “So it’s a fairly similar plan.”

Horford’s body seems to be responding well to the limitation, as his per-36 numbers have been exceptional upon his return. Over the past eight games, he has averaged 17.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 7.0 assists per 36 minutes all while shooting 56.3 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from 3-point range.

- Taylor Snow

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