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#pounditWednesday, June 29, 2022

Al Horford could miss first 2 games of conference finals

Al Horford during warmups

Jan 28, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) prepares for a game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are dealing with unfortunate roster availability issues ahead of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Both Al Horford and Marcus Smart are unavailable to play in Game 1 on Tuesday. Smart is out due to a foot sprain, which was a known issue. But the surprising health issue was revealed on Tuesday when the Celtics said Horford was in health and safety protocols.

That information suggests Horford has COVID.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says the Celtics are preparing for Horford to also miss Thursday’s Game 2 in Miami.

At this point, the Celtics have to hope that Horford will be able to clear protocols in time for Game 3 on Saturday.

Horford has stepped up his game during the postseason. He averaged 13.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game against the Bucks and became a big success story. Smart had his struggles against Milwaukee, but he is the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year and a key player for the Celtics.

This is a terrible break for Boston ahead of their series against the No. 1-seeded team in the East.

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