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Udoka on Al Horford returning for opening night: “It’s going to be very close”

Al Horford’s COVID-19 diagnosis comes at an unfortunate time.

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Head coach Ime Udoka spoke before Wednesday night’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic for the first time since Al Horford tested positive for COVID-19, and as expected due to the timing of the announcement, there’s a strong chance that Horford could miss the season opener against the New York Knicks.

The silver lining here is that Udoka isn’t indicating that it’s out of the realm of possibility! Horford may not be able to return to practice, but if his conditioning is in a good spot, he may be able to jump right into game action. There’s no strict timeline yet, but at least the door is open for an opening night return.

On the plus side, the news that Jaylen Brown will be back for sure against New York is welcome news. Brown has only been able to suit up for the preseason debut since going down late in the season last year with his wrist injury. The Knicks have added a few weapons, so having Brown available to fight back in the first game of the year will be tremendously helpful.

Hopefully, Al Horford will be able to join him in the lineup.

The Celtics take on the Orlando Magic tonight before closing out the preseason schedule against the Miami Heat on Friday.