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The Celtics Continue To Tiptoe Around Team's Vaccination Status

BOSTON (CBS) -- Celtics head coach Ime Udoka seemingly appeased any concerns regarding the team's vaccination status -- mainly their ability to play in Canada should Boston match up with the Toronto Raptors in the postseason -- on Monday when he said all of Boston's players were available to play there if healthy. Al Horford also said he'd be ready to play wherever on Wednesday, which should have put the issue to bed.

But an article on ESPN, plus continued vagueness from the Celtics this week whenever asked if their players are vaccinated from COVID-19, has kept the kerfuffle alive. Canada changed its rules in mid-January requiring visiting players to be vaccinated to enter the country, and Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Horford skipping Monday's visit to the Raptors fueled the speculation.

Granted, Monday night was the second leg of a back-to-back and all three players were listed on Sunday's injury report as well, with Horford also sitting out Sunday night's win over the Timberwolves. But as the Celtics refuse to comment on the subject, more gasoline has been tossed on the speculation among the masses.

President of basketball ops. Brad Stevens continued to skirt the subject on Friday during his interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher and Rich.

"As an organization we have said from Day 1 we are not going to comment on our team vaccination status or individual vaccination status," Stevens said Friday. "The rules have fluxuated as the year has gone on, and I feel like our job is to continue to educate and keep everyone abreast of those changes.

"I know that isn't the exact answer you're looking for but that is where we stand and that is all I have to say about that," he added.

That is not going to help alleviate the situation, and it will continue to be on the minds of Boston fans with the Celtics sitting in the three-seed in the East and set for a first-round matchup with the Raptors.

That could change before the end of the regular season on April 10. And Stevens made it sound like should players receiver a vaccination between now and a potential first-round matchup with the Raptors, they would then be eligible to enter Canada.

Tatum said on media day ahead of the season that he was vaccinated, and it was reported that both Brown and Horford -- who missed the start of the season after testing positive for COVID -- were breakthrough cases.

But with the Celtics continuing to tiptoe around the subject, we won't have a definite answer on whether or not certain players could play against the Raptors in Toronto until the postseason arrives. By then, it could all be a moot point anyways.

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