As Game 2 between the Celtics and Heat approaches, Al Horford has tested out of health and safety protocols, clearing the way for his return Thursday night.
Horford entered health and safety protocols on Tuesday, forcing him to miss the series opener. Thursday, Ime Udoka said of Horford: "He was not feeling ill. Like I said the other day, he's feeling fine, and it was something that was unexpected."
While Robert Williams had the most consistent game of any Celtic in the series opener, finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks in 28 minutes, getting Horford back will go a long way towards splitting the first two games in South Beach.
In the second half of Boston's loss on Tuesday, they had only five assists, registering one in the third frame. In that same quarter, Miami turned four offensive rebounds into nine points, helping the Heat outscore their guests 39-14 in the period. Along with Horford's facilitating and contributions towards limiting how frequently Miami extends possessions, he's also a calming presence and veteran leader, something the Celtics sorely missed in Game 1.
While the Celtics will be without Derrick White, who flew back to Boston to be there for the birth of his child, along with Horford, Marcus Smart might also return for Game 2.
Smart, who missed the series opener due to a right mid-foot sprain, is probable for Thursday's matchup. Earlier on Thursday, coach Udoka said Smart's availability for Game 2 comes down to how he responds when he tests his foot pregame.