Celtics

Celtics

BOSTON -- It’s still unclear when Al Horford will be released from the NBA’s concussion protocol program, but Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, says his symptoms don’t appear to be as severe as they were last year.

Last season, Horford suffered a concussion that kept him out of action for nine games. 
 
“I don’t think this is as bad as the concussion he had last year,” Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show. “But listen, with a concussion you have to be really cautious. The symptoms got a little worst over the course of a couple days.” 

The incident leading to the concussion came in the second quarter of Boston’s 110-107 win at Atlanta on Monday when Horford took an elbow to the head from Kent Bazemore. Horford was able to play on before finishing with one assist shy with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

“It just felt a little worst yesterday so we sat him out,” Ainge said. 

Horford’s injury comes at a time when the 10-year veteran was playing some of the best basketball of his career.  In 11 games, he is averaging 14.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game while defending at a level that has made him one of the early contenders for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award. 

“I’ve compared him to KG [Kevin Garnett] before, just because even though the personalities are completely different, their unselfishness and they’re willing to do everything and ability to do so much,” Ainge said. “But mostly their talent, their complete buy-in to the team. They don’t care anything about statistics. All they care about is winning basketball games and the success of their teammates. He’s been a great, great player for us since he came here. It took him a while to get more comfortable last year. This year, he’s been leading from the beginning. He’s really thriving in this role as the leader of the team; with Kyrie (Irving). He’s playing great, even better than I expected.”