Pregame Post-Ups: Full Roster, Full Crowd for C’s Home Opener
Friday, Oct. 22 - Raptors at Celtics
Pregame – Full Roster, Full Crowd for C’s Home Opener
For the first time in 593 days, the Boston Celtics will host a full-capacity, regular-season home game Friday night when they take on the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden. And for the first time in a long time, they will also be playing with a full and healthy roster.
As of Thursday, there were three players on Boston’s injury report – Al Horford (post-COVID return to competition reconditioning), Josh Richardson (migraine), and Marcus Smart (right knee effusion).
All three were cleared to play less than two hours before the 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
The most noteworthy return of the group is Horford, who missed the final two preseason games and Friday’s regular-season opener after testing positive for COVID-19.
Head Coach Ime Udoka said Horford is feeling great and “he’s ready to play. He's worked out the last few days and looked good.”
Horford will start alongside Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams, and Smart. However, the team will monitor Horford's playing time as the veteran big man continues to ramp up his conditioning following prolonged isolation.
“We want to keep him probably in the 20-to-25 minute range, and shorter stints,” Udoka said. “Like I said, he’s looked good, but we want to be conscious of his time out.”
It will be a special return for Horford, and it will also be a special night for Udoka, coaching his first regular-season home game for the C’s.
“I am (excited),” Udoka said shortly before tip-off. “All the firsts, whether it's preseason, the road game (season-opener) on our last trip, and obviously our home stand here, you look forward to it, but my main concern is getting to 1-1. The crowd was great in the preseason, so I expect it to be even more amped up tonight.”
The fans will have even more reason to be amped up knowing that their team will finally be full and healthy on the same night that they return to TD Garden in full capacity.
- Taylor Snow