BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics should get a bit of a boost Saturday night when they take on the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Gordon Hayward is active for the first time in a month and will come off the Boston bench.
Hayward is set to return after missing Boston’s last 12 games with an ankle injury. He will come off the Celtics bench, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Hayward was considered a game-time decision, though the Celtics were optimistic that he’d be able to play for most of the day Saturday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The forward suffered the injury — a Grade 3 sprain — back on Aug. 17 in Boston’s first game of the postseason.
Hayward will be with the Celtics the rest of the way, as ESPN’s Rachel Nichols reported during the game that the C’s forward will not leave the Orlando bubble when his wife gives birth to their fourth child — and first son — this month.
Gordon Hayward an immediate impact and we also hear @Rachel__Nichols report that Hayward will be staying in the bubble for the entire postseason and won't be leaving for the birth of his son. #Celtics #WBZ @WBZ
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) September 20, 2020
Hayward has been ramping up his activity over the last week and was upgraded to “questionable” on Friday. He had his best season with the Celtics during the regular season, hitting 50 percent of his shots while averaging 17.5 points and a career-high 6.7 rebounds per game. While he may not be in game shape after a lengthy layoff, the Celtics could use Hayward’s shooting and playmaking against a Miami zone defense that has stifled their offense for stretches over the first two games of the series.