It has been a long wait but Al Horford made his regular season return in Wednesday's season opening loss by the Atlanta Hawks to the Toronto Raptors. The Horford we saw on Wednesday wasn't quite the same one we have seen in previous seasons just yet but he is progressing and returning to form. Horford talked about his regular season return with Holly MacKenzie after the game.
"I felt okay," Horford said "I was a little winded at times and offensively I couldn't really get into a rhythm, but then I started to feel better. That's something I'll just have to work through. On defense I was very pleased. I thought I played well. We just have to keep improving as a team."
Horford admits that he still is not 100 percent following the injury but he seems to be getting better each time out. He didn't look real comfortable with his jump shot during the preseason and we saw that some in Wednesday's game as well. He rushed some opportunities in the paint as his shot chart from the night shows.
Horford finished with 12 points but was just 6-15 from the field. He showed no fear in mixing it up inside against Toronto's front line and finished with a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with three blocked shots. He looked more comfortable as the game wore on and hopefully will be able to carry that over into Saturday's game against the Pacers.
Its going to be a process getting Horford all the way back but the regular season will bring exactly what he needs which is an ample opportunity to play and compete on a regular basis. Its hard to get that level of comfort in practice or in preseason games where minutes are limited and the games are often spread out. It will take time, but for now its good seeing No. 15 back in an Atlanta uniform.