Celtics

Horton forced to leave game after blindside head shot

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Horton forced to leave game after blindside head shot

PHILADELPHIA It seemed as if Nathan Horton had just escaped the fog of last years concussion issues, but now he might be right back in the darkness after a reckless hit from a Flyers thug.

The Bruins right wing was held out of the third period and overtime of Sundays 6-5 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers after being on the receiving end of a blindside Tom Sestito shoulder to the head. The contact with Horton came in the second period well after the puck had left his possession, and should mean that Sestito playing in his first NHL game since Dec. 23 after being called back up from the minors will be hearing from the league offices in the next few days.

Sestito has already been suspended twice this season: once for two games during the preseason on a hit from behind and another five-game suspension in the AHL for an illegal check to the head of an opponent.

So it sounds like there is plenty of past history with Sestito and the contact with Hortons head one of the six registered hits Sestito collected in 8:36 of ice time for the Flyers.

There was a blindside hit on Horton. The Washington game is two days away, so well see," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "I havent had a chance to talk to our trainers or even get a doctors report to see how severe it is right now. I guess well find out in the next few days here, but certainly the doctors didnt allow him to come back in this game.

Horton responded with anger to the Sestito hit to the head that arrived well behind the play, and he chased after the Philly rabble-rouser before getting whistled off for a roughing call. Both Milan Lucic and Marc-Andre Bourdon got involved in the aftermath, and ultimately the Flyers went on a power play that ended with a Scott Hartnell goal. The Hartnell power play score quickly jump-started a dominant second period for Philadelphia, but it was a sequence that Hortons coach fully understood.

Obviously he got up and took a penalty, but we looked at the replay. When hes been through what he went through last year and it was a blindside hit, I dont blame him for doing his job, said Julien. If I was in his shoes I probably would have done the same thing. Thats our team. We take care of our own stuff. You saw that a couple of times with Kelly getting run over, and getting stood up for by Thornton.

We stick up for each other. Thats what we do. Sometimes that might get us into trouble, but in the long run were a team and we believe in our team concept.

Horton never returned to the game, and Julien said after the game hes a question mark for Tuesdays game against the Capitals that concludes the Bs pre-All-Star break schedule.

BEST OF BST PODCAST: Celtics can't get it done without Kyrie

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BEST OF BST PODCAST: Celtics can't get it done without Kyrie

0:41 - With Kyrie Irving out with shoulder soreness the Celtics looked like a shell of themselves, losing to the 76ers, 89-80. A. Sherrod Blakely joins Michael Holley and D.J. Bean from the TD Garden to break down the loss.

7:43 - Tom Brady is injured! This is not a drill! Brady missed practice on Thursday and remains a question mark for the AFC Championship Game. Tom Giles, Jeff Howe, D.J. Bean and Tom Curran discuss the severity of the injury.

15:09 - Dave Dombrowski’s plan for the upcoming season - or lack of one - has continued to confuse everyone, though he made it clear that he’s not waiting for next year’s huge free agent class. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Tom Curran react to Dealin’ Dave’s comments on the situation.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE

Kyrie Irving: Sitting out with shoulder injury 'just precautionary'

Kyrie Irving: Sitting out with shoulder injury 'just precautionary'

BOSTON – Kyrie Irving has long since understood the balancing act he must walk between embracing the moment while being mindful of the big picture. 

That’s why the decision to sit out Boston’s 89-80 loss to Philadelphia was one that, while certainly didn’t do Boston any favors against the Sixers on Thursday, it does provide him some much-needed downtime to rest his sore left shoulder.

MORE - Blakely's stars, studs, and duds from C's-Sixers

The good news is that tests taken on the shoulder show no structural damage. And with the way the schedule is shaping up now, Irving will have plenty of time to rest and be ready to play when the Celtics return to the floor on Sunday to host the Orlando Magic. 

“Just precautionary stuff, making sure everything's alright from a strength perspective,” was how Irving described the injury. “Obviously a few days will put me where I need to be. And we'll just see what goes on for Sunday's game, but you know it's nothing too crazy, just giving me a little discomfort over the last few weeks and I've just been playing through it doing what's best in terms of preparing best for every single game. I thought it was best just to get a few tests and make sure everything's alright so, everything's cool.”

Irving said the tests came back negative which is a huge positive for the Celtics and Irving who was selected as an NBA all-star starter for next month’s game. 

As far as how it happened, Irving said there was no specific event or play in which he suffered a blow to the shoulder or anything like that. 

“Gradual soreness” is how Irving described the injury.  “You know, kinda going into my shot, driving left, just not feeling as confident as I would like to be and just thought it would be best just to take a day or two to get it evaluated, meet with our medical staff, meet with our strength conditioning coach and strengthen it up and then hopefully go on Sunday.”

The Celtics (34-12) have now lost two of the three games they played this season without Irving. It is a small sample size, but there’s no denying the impact that a healthy Irving has on this roster when it comes to impacting winning. 

“First off, I just had to make sure some of the major parts of my shoulder just weren't damaged,” said Irving who added, “And then at this point it's just a strength program and doing what's best with that.” 

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