Ainge On Horford: Concussion Not As Bad As Last Year, But Celtics Taking Day To Day Approach

BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics aren’t sure when Al Horford will return after suffering a concussion during Monday night’s win in Atlanta.

The symptoms aren’t as bad as the concussion Horford suffered early last season, which ended up costing him nine games. The team thought that Horford would be able to play Wednesday night immediately following their win in Atlanta, but the symptoms flared up Tuesday and Wednesday morning so he was put into the NBA’s concussion protocol and is out indefinitely.

Celtics president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge said the team will continue to take a cautious approach with Horford.

“I don’t think this is as bad of a concussion he had last year, but with concussions you have to be really cautious,” he told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday. “The symptoms got a little worse over the course of a couple of days. … We’ll just take it day to day. I don’t think it’s as bad as the last one, so hopefully he’ll be back soon.”

While Kyrie Irving has been an offensive force to start his Boston career, Horford is the undeniable leader on the floor. Ainge said the big man has been better than advertised when he signed him to a four-year, $113 million contract two summers ago.

“I’ve compared him to [Kevin Garnett] before, even though the personalities are different. They’re unselfish and willing to do so much, and the ability to do so much. Mostly they’re a talent, but they completely buy into the team. They don’t care anything about stats, just winning basketball games and the success of their teammates. He’s just been a great, great player for us since he came here.

Ainge said Horford got comfortable midway through last season and has thrived in his role as Boston’s leader ever since. As for Horford’s almost immediate chemistry with Irving, Ainge said the freedom in Brad Stevens’ system certainly plays into it, but both of their individual talents meshes well with each other in an uncanny fashion.

“Al just knows how to play. He can read the defense and the game comes easy for him. Kyrie, it’s like watching a beautiful dancer out on the court. He does things you can’t teach,” said Ainge. “They know each other’s games because they just have a natural instinct, both of them. Al and Kyrie are magical on the floor sometimes.”

Listen to the full interview in the podcast above, including Ainge’s thoughts on Boston’s 10-game winning streak!

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