NEW ORLEANS — It appeared a few days ago that Al Horford was close to returning to the Celtics lineup after sustaining a concussion. Yet, the Celtics are still waiting on their big man after he was held out of a seventh consecutive game Monday against the Pelicans.
The Celtics brought Horford on this two-game road trip to Indianapolis and New Orleans with hopes he’d return after getting concussed during an Oct. 31 practice. Horford worked out prior to Saturday’s game against the Pacers and said he was getting close.
He was scheduled to participate in the team’s shootaround Monday, but the Celtics decided to send Horford home in the afternoon. Coach Brad Stevens said Horford will try to practice Tuesday in Waltham. His status is unknown for Wednesday’s home game against the Mavericks.
“I don’t want to put a timetable on it because I think it’s all about how he feels day to day,” Stevens said. “Better chance he could be feeling better [Tuesday] with a good night’s rest.”
Horford spoke before Monday’s shootaround, expressing encouragement that he’s nearly recovered and frustration that the rehabilitation has taken so long.
“I’m toward the end of this whole thing,” he said. “I don’t want to make any promises. You want to make sure when you feel well, there’s nothing lingering or anything. I felt good [after my Saturday workout], so for me that’s a really good sign. And I’m happy that I’m able to do that. I hear when people come back from these things they have a hard time even doing those workouts.
“It’s been very difficult. I’ve tried to be conscientious and understand that it’s more serious than I know. I’ve learned a lot about this in the past couple of weeks and one of the things after talking to [former Celtic Brian] Scalabrine because he had been through something like this very similar.”
Scalabrine suffered three concussions in one month during the 2008-09 season.
“His whole thing was to make sure that I felt right and it’s not like an ankle sprain or any other type of injury,” Horford said. “You have to make sure that you’re feeling good. I’ve got to go out there and feel good, feel 100 percent, and I’m still trying to get there.”
Horford walked into Bankers Life Fieldhouse at halftime of Saturday’s game to get a feel for the environment. It seems that sounds and bright lights may still be an issue.
“I have to make sure I can be in a game environment and be fine,” he said. “So that’s some of the things that I’m going through. After not being able to do anything for so many days, it’s good to be able to get back on the court and I’m anxious just to get back to playing. For me, that felt great.”
Frazier has stuck
Tim Frazier is the Pelicans’ starting point guard in the absence of Jrue Holiday, who took a leave of absence to attend to his ill wife. Frazier has flourished in the role, averaging 8.1 assists (sixth best in the NBA) entering Monday’s 106-105 win over the Celtics.
Starting in the NBA was Frazier’s dream as an undrafted guard out of Penn State, but it appeared a remote goal when he started his career as an invitee to Celtics training camp in 2014. Frazier was sent to Maine in the NBADL, where he won the league’s MVP award.
The 76ers signed Frazier to two 10-day contracts and he played in six games before returning to Maine. After a stint with the Trail Blazers, he returned to Maine again before getting a 10-day contract with the Pelicans. New Orleans signed him to a two-year contract this summer, finally offering some security.
“It’s been quite a journey where I came from, going to camp in Boston to where I am now, a couple of ups and downs,” he said.
“I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. It’s been a good ride for me. I was definitely on the outside looking in a couple of times but I was able to jump over that line. There was never any doubt [in myself], I just wanted to continue to work.”
Stevens had nothing but compliments for Frazier.
“When Tim came to us in training camp, he was a great guy to be around, a great guy to coach and he was not scared at all,” Stevens said. “That was clear from Day 1. It’s not surprise that he made it.”
Just a rumor
Scalabrine, now a Celtics analyst for CSN New England, suggested on his morning show on Sirius NBA Radio that the Celtics could potentially offer Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and the rights to the Nets’ first-round pick in 2017 for All-Star Klay Thompson. Scalabrine, a former assistant coach with the Celtics and Warriors, said he had not talked with any sources about a deal and had read the rumors on a basketball website.
Scalabrine said he was just bringing up topics for the radio show, but also said he had a group text session with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Warriors general manager Bob Myers on Monday afternoon. Golden State coach Steve Kerr was asked about the rumor at Warriors practice and laughed.