While it’s unclear whether or not the Boston Celtics are a fully vaccinated squad, Al Horford has cleared things up on his end. According to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, the Boston forward told the paper Friday that he is fully vaccinated and thus eligible to play in Toronto, should the Celtics draw the Raptors in the first round of the impending playoffs.
Horford previously said he would be “ready to play wherever,” but did not specifically reveal his vaccination status.
Himmelsbach wrote that Horford, a valued starter this season, “said he was aware that his absence from the recent Toronto game made some wonder about his future availability, but added that he would be able to play. He said this remains a personal matter for the players, and he declined to go into further detail.”
“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.”
Horford’s teammates, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, also missed Boston’s last game in Toronto. Tatum has repeatedly noted that he is fully vaccinated. “I mean, it’s your own decision,” Tatum said on Celtics media day back in September. “I fully understand the concerns of those who aren’t vaccinated that don’t want to, and I understand the people like myself that did. It’s your own personal health and your reason. Nobody should be judged one way or the other, whatever their decision is.”
Brown, meanwhile, has been less clear. He was asked about his vaccination status after the Celtics defeated the Washington Wizards on April 3, and said that he was “ready to play against anybody,” especially considering the fact that he missed the 2020-21 postseason due to a wrist injury. He did not, however, say that he was vaccinated.
“This year, from a competitive standpoint, I’m excited and ready to play against anybody,” Brown said. As a vice president of the player’s 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. That’s how I feel about it.”
Canada’s mandate that professional and amateur athletes must be fully vaccinated in order to enter the country began on Jan. 15. The NBA memo regarding that same mandate was distributed back in December.
Speculation as to whether or not the Celtics were a fully vaccinated squad began late last month, when ESPN’s Tim Bontemps reported that, when asked directly whether or not their teams were fully vaccinated, “both the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers declined to comment... The Heat and Bucks confirmed to ESPN that their teams are fully vaccinated, so they would have no issues in Toronto.”
It’s a situation that remains somewhat cloudy due to Brown’s caginess. But that it’s cleared up ever so slightly with Horford’s clarification is a positive with the playoffs mere days away.