Hayward Out For a Month
Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a Grade III ankle sprain in Boston's Game 1 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, and he is expected to miss at least four weeks, the team announced Tuesday.
Hayward exited the game in the fourth quarter after trying to grab a rebound and landing awkwardly on teammate Daniel Theis' foot.
He registered 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals in 34 minutes.
Hayward's setback adds to a lengthy list of injuries since his arrival in Boston. His most recent ailment came in November, when he missed a month after breaking his hand.
In the 2019-20 regular season, the C's posted a record of 34-18 with Hayward, and went 14-6 without him.
Hayward put together his best regular season in Boston this year, averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
In the bubble, Hayward is averaging 18.7 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds.
Marcus Smart will likely move into the starting lineup with Hayward sidelined.
Said Smart to reporters on Tuesday:
"There will be a lot more emphasis on Jayson [Tatum], Jaylen [Brown] and Kemba [Walker], I'll be the odd man out where I have to be ready to knock down shots right away, as [opposed to] coming off the bench and trying to ease into the game."
In the last two seasons, Boston has gone 78-46 (.629) with, and 19-11 (.633) without Hayward on the floor.
The Eastern Conference Finals are set to start in mid-September, meaning Hayward could potentially return if Boston stays alive in the postseason.
The Celtics, with a 1-0 series lead, return to the floor Wednesday against the Sixers at 6:30 p.m. ET.