The Boston Celtics announced on Friday that All-Star guard Jaylen Brown has tested positive for COVID-19. Brown is currently asymptomatic but has entered quarantine in accordance with the league's health and safety protocols. In addition, Celtics big man Al Horford tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Neither Horford's nor Brown's vaccination status is known at this time. During Media Day late last month, Brown was asked about the vaccine and said that it was a personal choice for everyone to make. "I have my own thoughts about it," Brown said. "I respect my teammates' decisions on things like that. Everyone has their own opinion on it. I think it's a personal choice."
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While it's good news that Brown is asymptomatic, this is obviously not how he nor the Celtics would have wanted to start the season. The Celtics were one of the hardest-hit teams by COVID-19 last season, which was a big factor in their disappointing seventh-place Eastern Conference finish. Now, they won't even be able to start this season with a clean slate as two possible starters are dealing with the effects of COVID-19.
On a personal level, Brown was also trying to work his way back from offseason wrist surgery. He tore a ligament in his wrist in May and missed the remainder of the regular season and the Celtics' first-round loss to the Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs. His recovery went well and he was in action during the team's first preseason game against the Orlando Magic. He finished with 25 points, four rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. Horford sat out most of the second half of last season in Oklahoma City as the Thunder did not want him to get injured before a possible trade.
When either will be able to return to the court remains to be seen. Due to positive tests, they'll have to quarantine for at least 10 days, which means they are done for the remainder of the preseason. The Celtics are set to open the regular season on Oct. 20 against the New York Knicks, which is eight days from now. Brown could be cleared from the COVID protocols by then, but he may need further time to recuperate before jumping back into the lineup. We'll know more on that front in the coming days based on how Brown is feeling.