Celtics' Al Horford Says He's Vaccinated, Eligible for Potential Raptors Series

Erin WalshApril 9, 2022

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) looks on during a NBA game between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls on April 6, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If the Boston Celtics face the Toronto Raptors in the 2022 NBA playoffs, Al Horford will be available to play at Scotiabank Arena. 

Horford said he is vaccinated and would be available to play north of the border, according to Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. Horford's comments come amid speculation that he might not be vaccinated after sitting out a game in Toronto last month.

"It’s something I haven’t wanted to discuss," Horford said. "I think with the Celtics, we made it clear we’re not going to discuss those things, and it’s a health matter, and we all respect everybody’s individual perspectives. That’s why I’m not going to get into it and talk about it. But I’m ready to go."

Canada does not allow unvaccinated athletes to enter the country. Had Horford been unvaccinated, he would have only be able to play in Boston's home games against Toronto in a potential playoff matchup. 

Not having Horford available would have been a huge blow to the Celtics' lineup. The team is already without Robert Williams III due to a torn meniscus, and Daniel Theis wouldn't cut it as Boston's starting center. 

After appearing in just 28 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, Horford has played well since being traded back to the Celtics, with whom he played from 2016 to '19. The 35-year-old is averaging 10.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from deep in 68 games. 

While Horford is vaccinated, it's unclear whether Jaylen Brown has received the shot.

Brown also missed that late March matchup against the Raptors in Toronto for what the Celtics described as a right knee injury. 

The Celtics have not confirmed that their team is fully vaccinated. Brown was asked about his status earlier this month and said he wouldn't comment.

He said, via NBC Sports Boston:

"Last year, I missed the playoffs. I had a season-ending injury with my wrist. This year, from a competitive standpoint, I’m excited and ready to play against anybody. As a vice president of the Players Association, it’s a part of my job description to protect our players’ rights and our medical privacy. So, you won’t hear me comment on my status or anybody else’s. But that’s how I feel about it."

Not having Brown available for a potential playoff series against the Raptors in Toronto would be a significant loss for the Celtics. The 25-year-old has been on a tear over his last 10 games, averaging 28.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 55.5 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from deep.

This season, Brown is averaging 23.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor and 35.9 percent from beyond the arc. 

The Celtics are currently third in the Eastern Conference with a 50-31 record. If the playoffs were to start today, they'd play the sixth-place Chicago Bulls in the first round. Boston has one regular-season game left on Sunday before its fate is determined.