BOSTON (CBS) — Gordon Hayward didn’t play in Friday night’s Game 7, but he was on the court putting up shots and testing out his sprained ankle before the Celtics defeated the Raptors. And now that Boston is moving on, Hayward could be back in the near future.
Hayward cleared his four-day quarantine on Friday and was back on the floor ahead of Friday night’s win. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Hayward would be back for the Eastern Conference Finals, but didn’t give a return date for the C’s forward.
“I think he’ll be back at some point in that series, but I don’t know when,” Stevens said.
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 12, 2020
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Hayward suffered a Grade III sprain late in Game 1 of Boston’s first-round sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers, and the most optimistic timeline has him returning to action around Sept. 18. It would appear as though he won’t be leaving the Orlando bubble again for the birth of his fourth child, but that has not been confirmed.
And while putting up shots is a good sign, Hayward would still have to work himself back into game shape after missing a month. But getting Hayward back in any capacity would greatly help Boston’s chances when they take on the Miami Heat for a trip to the NBA Finals.
Hayward had his best season in a Celtics uniform during the regular season, averaging 17.5 points off 50 percent shooting from the floor and 38 percent shooting from three-point range to go with a career-high 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists.