Al Horford has learned the hard way how real and dangerous concussions are, and it appears the experience has been eye-opening.

The Boston Celtics’ prized free-agent acquisition was hit in the head during practice nearly two weeks ago, but he didn’t experience any concussion-like symptoms until the next day. He hasn’t played since, missing five games entering Saturday night’s road contest against the Indiana Pacers.

But before the Celtics dismissed the New York Knicks 115-87 on Friday night, Horford met with the media to share some encouraging progress.

“I feel good,” the big man told the media, via The Providence Journal. “I’m very encouraged by the progress that we’ve made. I’m excited to be back as soon as possible. The past two days have been really good for me. I was able to get on the court a lot more. I was able to run up and down, do a lot of movement, a lot of stuff I wasn’t able to do a couple of days ago.”

Horford could be back as soon as Monday’s game in New Orleans against the Pelicans, complete with a new understanding of the problems that concussions present.

“I honestly didn’t understand it before now,” Horford explained, according to The Journal. “I would always hear stuff, see documentaries and stuff, but you don’t fully understand (until it happens to you). With an ankle or a knee, I’ve played through pain. It’s no problem. With the brain, it’s a little different.

“It’s been a challenge for me. I’ve had to be patient. But the good thing is that now I am at the point where I am starting to feel good again.”

Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images