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Al Horford returns to starting lineup for Celtics in Friday’s contest vs. Raptors

The big man returns to the lineup for the Celtics, who were dealing with a mini-Covid-19 outbreak

Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics
Al Horford of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket during a preseason game against the Toronto Raptors on October 9, 2021 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Update: Celtics center Al Horford is back in the lineup for the team, even entering the starting five Friday against the Raptors. He’ll join the floor alongside Tatum Brown, Smart and Robert Williams. Horford’s presence will take some opportunities away from Tatum and Brown but he should mainly be accumulating rebounding and defensive stats.

Update: Brown is starting, according to Celtics head coach Ime Udoka. The small forward was out for over a week after testing positive for COVID-19 but will be in the lineup Wednesday night against the Knicks.

With Brown officially in, this will benefit Boston’s overall offense while likely capping Jayson Tatum’s ceiling in DFS and fantasy lineups.

Boston Celtics PF/C Al Horford and SG Jaylen Brown were both placed into Covid protocols after positive tests last week. Horford has been ruled out for the season opener against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. Brown is listed as questionable on the Tuesday evening injury report.

The Celtics open the season as underdogs on the road at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. Boston is +1.5 on the spread and are +100 on the moneyline. We could see these lines move based on the Horford news, though Brown’s status will impact the betting lines much more. We’ll know more on his status early on Wednesday after morning shootaround and practices.

Fantasy basketball impact

With Horford sidelined, this is a good spot for Robert Williams aka Time Lord on the opening night slate. We also could see some run from Enes Kanter, Grant Williams and even Juancho Hernangomez off the bench with Horford out.

Brown’s status will impact Jayson Tatum a bit. In DFS formats, we could see a spike in Tatum’s ownership with Brown sidelined, but that may not be the wise move. No Brown hurts the Celtics as a team overall, particularly with new coach Ime Udoka making his head coaching debut for Boston. Josh Richardson figures to benefit the most from Brown’s potential absence. Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard may also get additional minutes/usage.