Celtics

Celtics

BOSTON -- Al Horford sat on the Boston Celtics bench, just a few hours from tip-off against Golden State which is once again one of the elite teams in the NBA.
 
It’s the kind of matchup that Horford has longed to be a part of since signing his four-year, $113 million contract with the C's.
 
But that’s as close as Horford will get to seeing action tonight due to still being in the league’s concussion protocol program which he entered on Nov. 2.
 
During an exclusive interview with CSNNE.com, Horford opened up about how dealing with a concussion has been an eye-opening experience on many levels.
 
“It’s definitely tough,” he told me just prior to Friday’s game. “This whole time in general has been hard for me. Just because I’m learning like everybody else is about having a concussion. I never thought it was something that, that serious. But now I’m finding out. It’s really made me be more patient; I have to be.”
 
That said, Horford said he’s finally feeling the light at the end of the tunnel which he believes will be a return to the court soon -- as early as Saturday’s game at Detroit. Horford and Jae Crowder (ankle) will make the trip.
 
“I’m finally at the point where … I'm starting to feel more like myself again,” he said.
 
And that’s the thing that most people on the outside don’t understand about concussions.
 
Concussions are very different than ankle injuries or strained ligaments in that no two concussions are the same.
 
And while there are a number of hoops and hurdles players must go through in order to be cleared to play again, more than anything else the player has to feel comfortable with his body being able to do what it did pre-concussion.
 
Horford acknowledged that has been one of the bigger challenges he has had to overcome during his recovery.
 
And nights like tonight don’t make it any easier for him, knowing the Celtics (6-5) are playing one of the best teams in the NBA and he can do nothing but watch.
 
When the Celtics signed him to the most lucrative contract in franchise history, they did so with the intent that he would be an integral part of their success against teams like the Warriors.
 
And part of his decision to sign with the Celtics during the free agency period was to be part of the team’s growth and ascension, inching closer to being among the game’s elite teams -- teams like the Golden State Warriors.
 
“With this one here, it’s killing me,” Horford said. “More than anything I just want to be out there with the guys. It’s hard to watch the games.”
 
The 6-foot-10 big man has appeared in just three games this season for the Celtics, averaging 12.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists.