Horford has missed the previous seven games with patellofemoral pain syndrome in his left kneewhile Morris has missed the previous two. Before Sunday’s game, nevertheless, Celtics coach Brad Stevens affirmed both are back and starting against Charlotte, because the Celtics make an effort to get rid of a three-game losing series.
Horford are about a moments limitation, though Stevens said he wasn’t sure exactly what limit is, and wouldn’t understand until game time. Morris, nevertheless, could have no restrictions.
The Celtics have struggled of late with no starting frontcourt tandem, losing their past few matches in a row — adding a 120-107 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks at home Friday night which prompted a post game team meeting which kept the locker room closed for over the usual half following the game had stopped.
However while Morris was one of Boston’s greatest players this season, getting Horford back is essential for the Celtics as they enter a stretch which will see them face a string of strong post players in the coming matches — for example Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Houston Rockets center Clint Capela, Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns — and have backup center Aron Baynes sidelined for several weeks with a fractured bone in his left hand.
“[Horford’s] been a success his whole career, and there is grounds that he wins,” Stevens said. “He gets huge, meaty plays on the court. He ‘s a steadying presence in the team and also certainly will direct us in both ends of the court.
“Some of this is manageable when Baynes can be acquired, however it’s tougher if they’re both outside. But there are matches where play different guys have to step up . Theis will play a significant bit as Al is about his minutes restriction leastwise, and gave us good minutes in this stretch.