Gordon Hayward might be available for Game 3. Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Celtics optimistic Gordon Hayward will play Game 3 vs. Heat

Gordon Hayward hasn't played for the Boston Celtics since Game 1 of their first-round matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. With Boston down two games in the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat, we might see Hayward return to action earlier than Brad Stevens intended.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics are optimistic that Hayward will return for Game 3 on Saturday.

Hayward suffered a Grade 3 right ankle sprain during Game 1 of Boston's first-round series against Philadelphia and hasn't played since.

Without Hayward in their lineup, the Celtics managed to sweep the 76ers and defeat the defending champion Toronto Raptors in seven games in the second round.

Getting Hayward back certainly will be a boost for a Celtics lineup that struggled against Toronto at times and now is struggling against Miami. Before being injured in Game 1 against the 76ers, Hayward notched 12 points, four rebounds and three assists in just over 34 minutes played.

Hayward had his best regular season this year since joining the Celtics, averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. Although many think Boston sports fans are insufferable, Erin tries to see things from a neutral perspective. Her passion is hockey, and she believes defense wins championships. In addition to covering sports for Yardbarker, she covers Boston sports for NBC Sports Boston. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90

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