For the previous three seasons, Philadelphia 76ers veteran big man Al Horford has been an essential piece to the Boston Celtics. For a moment, it seemed as if the 33-year-old All-Star was going to finish his career out with the Celtics after spending nine years in Atlanta, but Horford ended up finding a new home in his 13th NBA season.
Over the summer, the Sixers were looking to add another veteran presence to their roster as they needed some talented experience to help get them over the second-round hump of the Eastern Conference Playoff bracket.
To the front office, Al Horford seemed like the guy for the job. It was strange seeing Horford wear the Sixers' threads for the first time after spending the last three years as a bitter enemy of Philadelphia.
Ironically, Horford's first regular-season matchup came against Boston. While he admitted the change was still weird, the Sixers' offseason acquisition was happy to get the win as opposed to losing to his former team in front of his new fans.
The first game of the 2019-2020 season was just the first chapter of awkwardness for Horford. The second one came in mid-December when the Sixers traveled to Boston for the first time this year. It was supposed to be Horford's first time playing in TD Garden as an opponent since 2015. However, an injury prevented it from happening.
That was almost the case on Saturday night too. As the Sixers are set to return to Boston for the second and final time this regular season, the team had Al Horford on the injury report. As he missed Thursday's game against the Hawks with knee soreness, it seemed as if there was a chance Horford could avoid playing in Boston entirely this year.
Fortunately for Philly, that won't happen. After being listed as probable on Friday night's injury report, the Sixers announced that their veteran forward will be available to play against the Celtics on Saturday night.
Considering that Horford is in the Sixers' starting lineup, he will get his name announced as a member of the Sixers for the first time since leaving.
While Horford was broadcasted on the jumbotron during the game stoppage on the last trip, he got a small preview of what's to come his actual introduction comes about. Since he was well-respected during his time with the Celtics, Horford has earned the right to be cheered in Boston. That will probably be the case this time around as well.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_