Celtics

McCourty, Mankins react to Seau brain study

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McCourty, Mankins react to Seau brain study

FOXBORO -- According to a National Institutes of Health study released on Thursday, Junior Seau suffered from a degenerative brain disease often associated with repeated blows to the head. He committed suicide in May, dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his family had requested an analysis of his brain.

Seau's brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephlopathy (CTE), which his family believes caused his mood swings, forgetfulness and depression before his death.

News of the report reached Seau's former team in New England on Thursday afternoon. Guard Logan Mankins, safety Devin McCourty and receiver Brandon Lloyd, who spoke to assembled reporters on Thursday, were all told about the study and given an opportunity to react.

Mankins admitted that it was worrisome to hear that head trauma may have in some way contributed to Seau's death.

"I'd say it's worrisome probably if you sit down and really think about it," Mankins said. "But it's the playoffs right now so that's the least of our concerns now. You could probably say we're meat-headed and ignorant not to think about it, but maybe in February, after the season, we can think about it."

McCourty expressed concern as well, though, like Mankins, preferred to focus on New England's upcoming Divisional Round playoff game with the Texans.

"I think just hearing that is definitely sad," McCourty said. "But right now we're not really thinking about that. We're going into a playoff game, and for me, that's where all my focus is. It's definitely sad to hear that, but just all the focus right now is playing this game against Houston."

When asked what he might advise a youngster who is thinking about playing football, McCourty said: "I don't know. I don't think I got much advice about that so I wouldn't really know what to do or what to say, really."

Lloyd declined to discuss the report.

Seau, who was 43, played 20 seasons at linebacker in the NFL, including three seasons with the Patriots before retiring in 2009.

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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