addByline("Taylor C. Snow","Celtics.com","taylorcsnow"); addPhoto("https://i.cdn.turner.com/drp/nba/celtics/sites/default/files/161114horford2.jpg", "Al Horford going through pre-game warmups ahead of Saturday's game in Indianapolis.", "Ron Hoskins/NBAE", "Horford");
NEW ORLEANS – Al Horford wouldn’t make any promises Monday morning, but he’s hoping that this will finally be the night that he returns to action after missing the last six games with a concussion.
Boston’s big man spoke to the media ahead of the Celtics’ shootaround Monday morning and said that he would have a better idea of his status after practicing with the team that morning.
“There’s certain things that you look for and you want to make sure that you feel well and that there’s nothing lingering or anything,” he explained. “I gotta go out there and feel 100 percent. And I’m still trying to get there.”
The last couple of weeks have been extremely challenging for Horford, as this obviously is not the way he wanted to begin his Celtics career. But he has approached the situation intelligently with the understanding of the serious nature of concussions.
Horford says one guy who has helped him through the process is former Celtic forward and current CSN broadcaster Brian Scalabrine, who reportedly went through a similar situation during his playing career.
“He was a big help to me because he’d been through something like this,” Horford said of Scalabrine. “His whole thing was to make sure I felt right. It’s not like an ankle sprain or any other type of injury that you can just kind of play your way through it. You have to make sure that you’re feeling good.”
Lately, Horford has felt good enough to go through some pre-game warmups like he did Saturday night in Indianapolis.
“I think that for me that’s a really good sign and I’m happy I’m able to do that,” said Horford. “I hear that when people come back from these things they have a hard time doing those workouts.”
Horford is hoping that his workout at shootaround will provide an even better sign – one pointing toward his return tonight. He especially does not want to miss this game considering that Boston will be facing arguably the best big in the game in Anthony Davis.
“He’s a very versatile player that can score in very different ways,” Horford said of the challenges of guarding Davis. “The biggest thing with him is just really trying to stay between him and the basket, but even then he’s still scoring over people at will.
“We have to make sure we do a great job of contesting his shots, and a guy like that you have to [defend] as a group. You have to make sure that your teammates are helping and are digging and are making it difficult for him to get looks.”
Horford will know in a few hours if he will be able to go up against Davis and the Pelicans Monday night, so stay tuned.
Thomas Plans to Play Through Finger Sprain
Horford wasn’t Boston’s only injury concern entering Monday’s matchup; Isaiah Thomas’ status was also questionable after spraining the middle finger on his left (shooting) hand during Saturday’s game in Indiana.
Thomas sat by his locker Monday morning with the finger wrapped in black tape and said he could barely bend it, but added that it’s not going to stop him from playing against the Pelicans.
“I just gotta work around it,” he said determinedly. “I’ll figure it out today and just try to make adjustments.”
Thomas, like Horford, is also looking forward to his individual matchup Monday night, as he’s set to go up against Tim Frazier. Though it’s not necessarily Frazier’s skillset that excites Thomas about the matchup; it’s the notion that facing the Pelicans’ 6-foot-1 point guard will give 5-foot-9 Thomas another opportunity to verify his favorite claim.
“I’ve always liked the matchups against the little ones to prove I’m the best little guy there is,” Thomas stated with a confident grin.
Thankfully, Thomas’ finger injury will not get in the way of him suiting up tonight and justifying that assertion.