The Boston Celtics have reportedly been dealing with positive COVID test results among their traveling party “over the last week” according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, which may be tied to veteran big man Al Horford’s entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols. As Windhorst notes on a recent episode of “Get Up!,” it will be Horford’s third such stint this year but also does not necessarily mean he has tested positive given close contact with any of the unnamed members of the traveling party might also trigger his entry.
Reading between lines drawn by the team’s policy to not comment on such matters, it seems probable Horford tested positive. The skepticism on Horford’s ability to return in time for Game 2 of their East finals vs. the Miami Heat in recent reporting from Yahoo’s Chris Haynes — who notes that there is an unlikely but “minuscule path in which the veteran big man could fulfill the necessary steps for clearance” — suggests the Florida product needs to produce the two negative tests required by the league in a 24-hour period to return to play.
Horford, who has publicly stated he is vaccinated, and perhaps also head coach Ime Udoka, who missed Thursday’s media availability session with a (at least for now) non-COVID illness, points to the importance of health in today’s NBA in ways which transcend historic concerns if nothing else.
In a city with surging local COVID infections, adopting a more stringent approach to precautionary practices may well prove critical to the team’s postseason ambitions.
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