Earlier this week, Al Horford popped up on the Celtics' injury report with a sore left knee. With three games looming in the next four nights, team trainers are opting to play it safe with the All-Star big man as Brad Stevens told reporters on Friday morning that Horford is out against the Hawks tonight in what's expected to be a short-term absence.
#NEBHInjuryReport: Brad Stevens says of Al Horford, “I’d say Al is unlikely tonight.” He adds that Horford’s knee soreness is not a long-term thing and Horford could play tomorrow in Dallas. Robert Williams will be active.
The 32-year-old had played in all 18 games this year, averaging just 11.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
With Horford sidelined and the Hawks going with a traditional big man (DeWayne Dedmon) at center, Aron Baynes is likely to continue holding down the starting center spot for the third straight contest. Marcus Morris or Gordon Hayward would loom as the favorites to fill Horford's spot in the starting lineup. A wildcard like Guerschon Yabusele or Semi Ojeleye can't be ruled out at the starting 4 either if Stevens doesn't want to disrupt the bench rotation units.