BOSTON (CBS) — After Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand last month, the Celtics wing was expected to be sidelined until Christmas Day. Now Brad Stevens is telling us there’s a chance that Hayward returns ahead of schedule.

Hayward took part in a live workout against Celtics assistant coaches on Friday, two days after he took some “hybrid contact” on the floor. There was more contact on Friday, though it was still of the controlled variety. Hayward still hasn’t taken part in a live practice, which will be one of his next steps toward a return.

Hayward himself didn’t want to discuss a potential early return when he talked with reporters on Wednesday, but there was a sense that maybe he’d be back sooner than expected. Stevens fed into that notion on Friday, indicating that there’s an 80 percent chance that the forward may return before the Celtics visit the Toronto Raptors on Christmas Day.

Stevens, however, didn’t give a target date for Hayward’s return to action.

Hayward was one of Boston’s most consistent players before he got hurt, averaging 18.9 points off 56 percent shooting (including 43 percent from three-point range) to go with 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in his eight games. Boston has gone 8-4 in his absence.

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