The NBA concussion protocol will keep Al Horford out of Washington D.C. Wednesday in the aftermath of election day. The Celtics, losers of two straight games during which they allowed a total of 251 points, will make the trip without Horford and Jae Crowder, still recovering from his ankle injury suffered vs. Chicago on Wednesday.
#NEBHInjuryReport: Al Horford (concussion protocol) and Jae Crowder (ankle) won't make the trip to DC for tomorrow's matchup w/ the Wizards.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 8, 2016
Yesterday Brad Stevens stated Horford has “not advanced” in the league’s concussion program. Before returning to the court he must be symptom free at rest, pass an exertion program, and a team physician must discuss the situation with concussion program director Jeffrey Kutcher.
Crowder remains on the original trajectory given by Stevens after the win over Chicago, that he would likely miss a week. Whether or not he’s on track to play Friday vs. the Knicks back in Boston is unclear.
The interesting scoop on the flight is the presence of Kelly Olynyk, reported by Cs voice Sean Grande. Olynyk has yet to play this season, recovering from an April shoulder injury, and he is questionable for tomorrow’s game.
Three paragraphs of injury updates entering the seventh game of the season isn’t ideal, but it’s better to get the bumps and bruises in now than in April. Last year back-loaded injuries helped derail a whole regular season of success for the Cs. Crowder is a great example, as his play was a shell of what it was after he suffered a high ankle sprain that he admits he rushed back from.
The absence of these players has had a dramatic effect. Boston was barely able to compete against Cleveland and, far more shockingly, Denver, but on a team with such specialized roles it’s difficult for Tyler Zeller and Jaylen Brown to have the same kind of impact Horford and Crowder did, respectively.
Whether the Celtics fulfill playoff expectations will matter far more than if their seed looks good at the end of the regular season. To do the former they’ll have to be healthy, so better to give it time now and have a few extra losses on the 82-game record.