WALTHAM, Mass. -- There’s still a chance that Al Horford will return to the Boston Celtics’ lineup for Wednesday’s game against Dallas, but the four-time All-star didn’t sound too optimistic.
“On the court, times I’ve been on I felt good with my workouts,” Horford said after fully participating in Tuesday’s practice. “It’s just that to play, I’m just not there yet.”
And there’s no real sense that will change between now and the Mavericks game.
Horford fully participating in Tuesday's practice provided no real insight into how close he is to returning to action.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, citing the team's return to Massachusetts early Tuesday morning following their 106-105 loss at New Orleans, said the team held a very light practice today.
"We did some film, did a little five-on-0 work and then a little bit of jog-through, almost like a shoot-around," Stevens said. "He (Horford) was able to do it all."
And after practice, Horford spent time on the floor with assistant coach Jay Larranaga working on an array of low-post moves, set jumpers and free throws.
While those are certainly steps in the right direction, Horford's return remains uncertain which he acknowledges has not been easy to deal with.
“I’ve been very motivated to come back. This is just something that’s very different,” Horford said. “I haven’t dealt with anything like this before, so I… we’re really taking it day by day. That’s just all I can do right now.”
Despite Horford’s absence, the Celtics have shown signs of improvement in his absence particularly on the defensive end of the floor.
Boston has won two of its last three games and rank among the NBA’s top teams defensively during that span.
“We’ve been really good on the defensive floor if you take the last three games and compared it to the NBA season,” Stevens said.
But as good as they have been lately, they would be a lot better with Horford whose return to action remains very much up in the air.
Isaiah Thomas is among the Celtics who knows all too well just how valuable Horford is to Boston’s overall success this season.
“Hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later,” Thomas said. “Can’t mess with the head.”
Horford has appeared in three games this season for Boston, averaging 12.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.