BOSTON – Al Horford, an instrumental part of the Celtics' current NBA-best, nine-game winning streak, will not play tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers after being entered into the league’s concussion protocol.
Team officials said the first concussion-like symptoms experienced by Horford occurred this morning. He suffered a blow to the head on a foul in Boston’s 110-107 win at Atlanta Monday night, but team officials said he did not show any concussion-like symptoms after the play or for the remainder of the game.
This will be the second time Horford has entered the concussion protocol since he arrived in Boston last year. An early-season concussion resulted in Horford missing nine games last season. It is unclear how long Horford will be out this time.
Horford’s injury comes at a time when the Celtics are playing their best basketball of the season. They come into tonight’s game against the Lakers as the first in league history to have won nine in a row games following a pair of losses to open the season.
In his 11th season, Horford’s strength and versatility in limiting opponents of all shapes, sizes and speeds has made him an early contender for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
Now that he will be out indefinitely, the Celtics will once again find themselves trying to regroup in the face of an injury.
The Celtics' Gordon Hayward suffered a left ankle injury just five minutes into the season-opener for Boston. The Celtics regrouped soon afterward to play some inspiring basketball.
Horford is averaging 14.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 47.4 percent from 3-point range. Defensively, he has been an absolute anchor for the Celtics’ top-ranked defense with his ability to switch out on seemingly any player, and still get back in time to be a factor in his individual matchup.
His defensive rating of 93.2 is tops among all NBA players averaging at least 30 minutes played per game.