scorecardresearch Skip to main content

‘I’ll be ready to play wherever’: Al Horford addressed his vaccination status ahead of playoffs

Al Horford assured he'd be prepared to play in Toronto if the Celtics match up with the Raptors in the playoffs.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which has been in place since January, requires all visiting NBA players to be fully vaccinated to appear in games in Toronto. And unless that rule changes soon, a playoff matchup against the Raptors could create some issues for opposing teams.

Nets star Kyrie Irving’s refusal to receive the vaccine has been well-documented, and New York recently lifted its mandate, allowing Irving to play in home games again. But visiting players were always allowed to play in Brooklyn regardless of their vaccine status, so the situation around the league was less clear.

Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford all missed the Celtics game in Toronto Monday night. Brown and Tatum were held out with knee soreness, and Horford sat for personal reasons. Tatum has publicly stated that he is fully vaccinated.


Horford was asked about his status after the loss to the Heat Wednesday.

Al Horford is averaging 9.9 points per game this season.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“Yeah, we’re clear on it, and I’ll be ready to play wherever,” he said.

The Celtics have declined to comment publicly on the vaccine status of individual players. Udoka said that, ultimately, the players have to decide on their own whether to take the vaccine.

“It’s up to them, that’s their decision,” Udoka said. “But it’s been two years now that that’s all been on the table and everybody knows the restrictions or whatever. And so we leave that up to the guys. It’s their personal choice. And there’s not much discussion that we have with them.”

Read more from the Celtics-Heat game:

Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at Follow him @adamhimmelsbach.