MIAMI – The Boston Celtics announced that the Dominican pivot Al Horford is available to play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Sports) after missing the Game 1 loss of the series to the Miami Heat after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Horford abruptly entered the protocols shortly before Game 1 on Tuesday. He went from doubtful Wednesday night to questionable Thursday afternoon, before the Celtics’ announcement that he could play.
The Celtics are also expected to have Marcus Smart in the starting lineup as their point guard and floor general on both ends of the floor. He is likely to see action in Game 2 after sitting out Boston’s 118-107 Game 1 loss due to the midfoot sprain he sustained in the Celtics’ Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. .
“It’s better, but you still have to try it [el pie] before the game,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said of Smart. “But it’s likely tonight. When he goes before the game, we’ll know from there, but he looked better in practice today, and overall, we expect him to play.”
Smart was injured when he fell on Bucks superstar power forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Celtics also announced that Derrick White he would miss Game 2 for personal reasons, as he and his wife are expecting a child.
“Derrick is having a baby,” said Udoka. “He arrived earlier than expected. But we always support our players in that situation. He had to run home today.”
White started Game 1 in Smart’s place and finished with three points and four assists in 29 minutes. He is expected to be back with the team for Game 3 on Saturday night when the series returns to Boston.
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Horford available for Celtics-Heat Game 2