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.
Barring a setback in pregame warmups, there’s significant optimism within the Celtics that forward Gordon Hayward (right ankle sprain) will be active to play in Game 3 vs. Miami tonight, sources tell ESPN. After missing a month, Hayward offers a sizable boost for Boston’s bench.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2020
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.