Celtics

Horton all smiles at Bruins' practice

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Horton all smiles at Bruins' practice

WILMINGTON, Mass. It can be nothing but a good sign that Bruins power forward Nathan Horton was spotted wearing his trademark gleaming grin while walking out of the Bs dressing room following Thursdays morning skate.

He looked happy, relatively healthy and upbeat while saying hello as he walked out of the TD Garden after checking in with the teams medical staff.

But it hasnt changed Hortons prognosis while attempting to recover from a mild concussion suffered during a Jan. 22 win over the Flyers in Philly. Horton has now missed 16 games and close to six weeks of the regular season after bearing the brunt of a Tom Sestito blindside hit, and is still far away from a return to the ice.

Sestito was given no penalty or supplemental discipline on a play thats knocked one of the Bs best forwards out of the lineup with his second concussion within an eight-month span.
A source close to Horton indicated on Thursday that there is still a ways to go before the Bs right wing will be cleared for skating, practicing or playing and hes out indefinitely.

The Bruins acquired Brian Rolston at the deadline as needed forward depth with both Horton and Rich Peverley out of the lineup for the majority of the regular season, but theyve struggled mightily with five shutout losses among the 16 games without Horton.

It may be that Horton and the Bruins have determined to sit Horton out until closer to the end of the season to give him the best possible chance for a healthy run during the playoffs, and multiple sources have indicated that the right wing will definitely be returning at some point this year.

So currently Marc Savard, Horton and Johnny Boychuk are all missing action with the after-effects of head injuries, and only Boychuk appears on the verge of returning to the Boston lineup.

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

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