BOSTON (CBS) — Gordon Hayward went through Boston’s shootaround on Monday morning, and he didn’t do it just to have some fun. The Celtics forward intends to play Monday night when Boston hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to head coach Brad Stevens.
Hayward rejoined the Celtics for practice on Sunday for the first time since breaking a bone in his left hand back on Nov. 9. He wasn’t expected to be back in game action until Christmas Day, but his return will happen much sooner than anticipated. Stevens said it’s now up to Boston’s medical staff to determine if Hayward can go Monday night against the Cavaliers.
“He went through everything today,” Stevens said. “Meeting with our trainers now. Walked through with the intention of playing, so we’ll see what happens out of that meeting.”
Hayward’s return will give Boston another 20-point scorer in their starting lineup, and his teammates don’t think it will be too hard to work him back into the flow of things.
“Gordon is so smart and knows how to play the game, he’s so easy to play with,” said point guard Kemba Walker. “I don’t think there will be any challenges. I think he’s going to come in and do as well as he did before he got hurt.”
While much has been made of Hayward’s offense this season, Stevens is most excited to have his all-around game back in the mix.
“He’s just a good player. He has a real feel for the game on both ends. One of the things about our defense that I think has made our defense when we’ve played our best, is our ability to cover one another when people are in tough spots,” said the coach. “He can read those situations well and he’s a good communicator. He’s played a lot of basketball in his life, so it’s always good to get good players back. We’re hopeful that he’ll play tonight.”
In his first eight games of the season, Hayward was averaging 18.9 points off 56 percent shooting to go with 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.