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Celtics coach Brad Stevens wants to play Al Horford ‘within 27, 28 minutes’ range

Al Horford, Celtics, Brad Stevens

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens wants All-Star center Al Horford to be healthy and fresh for the playoffs, which is why he and the organization are trying to play Horford withing a 27-28 minutes range.

Horford missed seven games in a row in December due to soreness in his left knee. The veteran big man hasn’t suffered a setback or missed any games since he returned to the floor, but Brad Stevens says keeping Horford in the 27-28 minutes range is the smart thing to do moving forward.

“We’re trying to keep him within 27, 28 minutes,” Stevens said, via Adam London of NESN. “Obviously, if it goes 29 or 26 or whatever the case may be, it’s more of a — we don’t want to backlog 36-minute games back-to-back-to-back-to-back, one after another with coming off the knee and he’s already played eight or nine straight after that.

“He feels good, he looks good. We did this with [Marcus]Morris last year, and by March, Morris felt great and really played well, obviously, towards the end of the season. It’s a fairly similar plan.”

In 30 games this season for the Celtics, Al Horford is averaging 12.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the field, 36.9 percent from beyond the arc and 70.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Boston enters their Wednesday matchup against the Indiana Pacers with a record of 24-15, good for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. If the Celtics want to win the East this year, they will need Horford to be fresh for the postseason.