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Al Horford cleared for additional work; Nearing return

The Atlanta Hawks opened their preseason without Al Horford, but it appears as if the big man will be back in full without much delay.

Mike Lawrie

The Atlanta Hawks began their preseason schedule with a victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night, but there were a few notable faces not on the floor for the home team. Chief among them was center Al Horford, who is still in recovery from pectoral surgery during last season, but on Monday, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution brought news that Horford has been cleared to begin playing 2-on-2 with contact.

Vivlamore notes that Horford must be given the green light to begin 3-on-3, 4-on-4 and 5-on-5 play, but at the same time, it appears that the former All-Star big man will be ready to go before the preseason concludes.

"I feel good," Horford told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution following shoot-around Monday before the Hawks hosted the Pelicans. "I’ll see how I feel tomorrow and maybe start doing more in practice, more than I have been doing."

Quite honestly, it was a blessing to see Horford in uniform on the bench on Monday evening, and for the Hawks to reach their full potential this season, their best player needs to be fully healthy and ready to roll. Optimism reigns with regard to Horford's progress, and hopefully, we will continue to see development, including a preseason debut in the near future.