UPDATE (2:45 p.m. ET): The Boston Celtics announced Al Horford is available to play Thursday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.
Horford started the day listed as doubtful and was upgraded to questionable before ultimately being deemed available upon clearing the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Horford missed Game 1 of the Celtics-Heat series Tuesday night after landing in the COVID-19 protocols.
ORIGINAL STORY: Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told reporters Thursday morning that Al Horford remained “doubtful” for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, as Boston still was awaiting test results on the 35-year-old big man, who missed Game 1 after being placed into the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.
Then, some encouraging news dropped.
The Celtics announced Thursday afternoon that Horford had been upgraded to “questionable” for Game 2 against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski subsequently reported, citing sources, that Boston has continued testing Horford with the hope that he’ll be able to exit the protocols and play Thursday night in Miami.
Obviously, this all could go for naught. But Horford’s upgraded status at least is a step in the right direction as the Celtics look to bounce back from a Game 1 loss.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes outlined what exactly needs to happen for Horford to return from a positive COVID-19 test:
The Celtics will be without Derrick White in Game 2, as Udoka revealed the guard flew back to Boston for the birth of his child. Marcus Smart, who missed Game 1 with a mid-foot sprain, remained listed as “probable” as of Thursday afternoon.
Tipoff for Game 2 of Celtics-Heat is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.