Hayward’s return from a third degree ankle sprain had an immediate impact. The Celtics won Game 3 in part thanks to his playmaking. But he went downhill from there, understandably so, according to a league source, who said the 30–year-old forward was “50-50” at best, and really in no position to impact a game. Through no fault of his own, Hayward’s time as a Celtic has never really taken off.
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And none of those players were quite good enough in this series. Gordon Hayward was supposed to make a difference but he was hardly 100 percent, and that affected the Celtics’ approach. According to an NBA source, Hayward sustained nerve and retinaculum damage in that sprained ankle and he could barely jump. He needed about two-plus more weeks of rehab that the Celtics just didn’t have. So he played on one leg.
Jared Weiss: Stevens expects Hayward to play tonight: “He just tells us how he feels, but he’s played 3 on 3 the last couple of days and I would anticipate he will be available. But it’s his call.”
Malika Andrews: After confirming that Gordon Hayward will warm up before determining his status for Game 3, Brad Stevens adds: “I anticipate he’ll be available, but that’s his call.” Should Hayward play, Stevens said he will come off the bench and his minutes will be monitored.
Barring a setback in pregame warmups, there’s significant optimism within the Boston Celtics that forward Gordon Hayward will make a return to the lineup for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat on Saturday night, sources told ESPN. Hayward has missed a month with a right ankle sprain, but has progressed in recent days to the cusp of a return on Saturday with the Celtics trailing the Heat 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
If Hayward returns, Boston could play its five best players — Walker, Smart, Brown, Hayward, Tatum — in a centerless alignment that might help on the other end too. Alternatively, Robert Williams III, whom Stevens benched in Game 2, could lurk as a lob threat behind the zone. If Miami unleashes three-quarter pressure as a prelude to its zone, Boston can try to spring Walker with picks at half-court — giving him a runway to bust the zone before Miami locks it in. (The Celtics tried this a few times.)
Chris Haynes: Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward upgraded to questionable for Game 3 against the Miami Heat on Saturday.
Chris Grenham: “I’m told the Celtics were talking about the possibility, perhaps even likelihood, that they’ll get Gordon Hayward back Saturday night for Game 3.” Good stuff from Woj just now on @SportsCenter detailing the Celtics’ last 24 hours:
Jared Weiss: Gordon Hayward is progressing toward returning for Game 3 of Celtics-Heat after feeling good in Wednesday’s post-practice workout, a source with knowledge of the situation told @The Athletic. He expects to get more on-court work Friday with the hope of playing Saturday.
Chris Grenham: Rachel Nichols says Gordon Hayward was optimistic about his recovery this morning, which is good news as we watch the Celtics struggle on offense.
Chris Forsberg: Celtics upgrade Gordon Hayward to doubtful for game 2.
Jared Weiss: Brad Stevens asked on 98.5 what game Gordon Hayward will be back: “I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.” Q: “Is he close?” A: “What does close mean. Define close.”
John Karalis: Gordon Hayward officially out for game 1
The former All-Star wing was having a resurgent season when a grade III right ankle sprain knocked him out of the playoff opener against Philadelphia. The Celtics gave him a four-week timetable to return to basketball activities, which would be borderline unprecedented for a grade III sprain. The four-week mark comes just ahead of Game 2 of the Conference final, but it doesn’t sound like Hayward is close to hitting that mark. “He did a couple of non-contact, very light drills,” coach Brad Stevens said. “He’s out there doing individual work right now, but none of that stuff with any groups.”
Chris Grenham: Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward: “I know he feels better. He’s worked hard to get where he is. I think he’ll play at some point in this series. … I feel like he’s made good progress.”
Gordon Hayward returned to the bubble earlier this week after suffering a Grade 3 ankle sprain in round one against the Philadelphia 76ers. The forward cleared quarantine Friday afternoon, which allowed him to get shots up with the Celtics staff prior to the tip-off of Game 7. Stevens was asked about Hayward’s status following the team’s series-clinching win. “I think he’ll be back at some point in that series (vs. Miami),” Stevens said. “But I don’t know when.”
Tim Bontemps: Celtics forward Gordon Hayward will be able to leave quarantine Friday, per a league source. It remains unclear when Hayward will be able to resume play — he was ruled out for four weeks when he initially sprained his ankle on Aug. 17 — but it’s a first step in his return.
Chris Grenham: Brad Stevens says Gordon Hayward is back in the bubble and currently quarantining. “I haven’t seen him because he’s been in a room.”
Chris Mannix: Brad Stevens said Gordon Hayward’s rehab from a sprained ankle is going “OK.” Says his gait still isn’t right. Says he expects Hayward to rejoin the team in the bubble, but he won’t rejoin and be ready to play right away.
Brian Robb: Gordon Hayward on his ankle injury: “It’s definitely gutting. It sucks. There’s nothing else to say about it.”
Brian Robb: Gordon Hayward: “The mental side of rehab is by far tougher than the physical.” Can’t imagine being in an bubble helps on that front. Really tough situation for him.
IJared Weiss: Brad Stevens on Hayward injury: “It’s our job to make up for all the great things that he does by committee.” They are still determining whether Hayward’s rehab will happen in or out of the bubble.
Derek Bodner: Brown on potential starting lineup changes with Hayward injury: “Anything’s on the table once we learned this Gordon Hayward news.” Brown also said he was “very influenced, by and large, with just trying to match minutes (with Boston’s stars).” Seems to bode well for Thybulle.
Chris Mannix: Just spotted Gordon Hayward walking into the Celtics meal room. On crutches. A boot on his right foot/ankle. Putting no pressure on it.
The Boston Celtics lost forward Gordon Hayward to a right ankle sprain in the fourth quarter of their 109-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. “Sprained ankle,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after Game 1 of this East first-round series. “Don’t know the severity, but he’s clearly in pain, and it looked like it had some swelling already. That’s my medical review.”
Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews after the game that Hayward would be getting an MRI on his ankle later Monday to determine the severity of the injury. Hayward, who scored 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals in 34 minutes, was trying to box out Sixers star Joel Embiid inside with about 3½ minutes to go in the fourth quarter when his right foot got twisted and he went down to the floor in a heap.
For a player who noted soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle at the beginning of the NBA’s return to play program in June, the Celtics will certainly proceed with an abundance of caution. Hayward prefers to play without an ankle brace on, but there is a good chance that is going to change once he eventually makes it back on the floor. But considering he is already planning to depart the bubble to attend the birth of his son at some point in mid-September, the Celtics may have to plan on a playoff run without him.
Malika Andrews: Gordon Hayward left the arena on crutches.
Brian Robb: Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward’s ankle injury: “He’s clearly in pain. It looks like he had some swelling already.”
Jared Weiss: Celtics rule Hayward out with a right ankle sprain.
A. Sherrod Blakely: Gordon Hayward said his left foot still gets sore sometimes, adding that he thinks it’s associated with the gruesome foot injury he suffered at the start of the 2017 season, his first in Boston.
Chris Grenham: Gordon Hayward will play without a minute restriction today, per Stevens.
Gary Washburn: Jaylen Brown out at least a week. Hayward day to day and Kemba just getting back to back rest. #Celtics
Tim Bontemps: Boston’s season as the walking wounded continues: Marcus Smart (quad) and Brad Wanamaker (ankle) are probable. Jaylen Brown (ankle), Gordon Hayward (foot) and Kemba Walker (knee) are questionable. Daniel Theis (ankle) and Robert Williams (hip) are out.
Chris Forsberg: Gordon Hayward says he’s been dealing with nerve issue in foot. Has received three cortisone shots but is hopeful most recent will work. Admits he’s frustrated. Also believes it’s related to his ankle injury. Hayward said he’ll see how ankle feels tomorrow but hopeful to play.
Mark Murphy: Cortisone shot appears to have been solution re: Hayward’s foot. “I was super frustrated. I broke my hand and this was a different issue. When I wasn’t playing you would think I could figure it out. We were calling around the country trying to figure it out. Hopefully we did.”
Jay King: Gordon Hayward said he thinks the nerve pain has “everything do with” his prior injury. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”
Tim Bontemps: Brad Stevens says Gordon Hayward had a strong workout this morning. Won’t play today but says he expects him to be probable after today – meaning he’ll likely be back for Christmas Day in Toronto.
Tim MacMahon: Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Gordon Hayward has been dealing with lingering foot soreness since before his hand injury. Hayward had a cortisone shot and it didn’t respond well. Will get another MRI tomorrow.
Gary Washburn: #Celtics declare Gordon Hayward OUT tonight with a sore left foot. #Mavericks
Jared Weiss: Stevens says Gordon Hayward is going through walkthrough today with the intention of playing. Meeting with training staff now.
Gordon Hayward broke his left hand four weeks ago against the San Antonio Spurs. Today, the former All-Star wing told reporters that he could return tomorrow to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. “Tomorrow’s a possibility,” he said. “See how I feel when I wake up, go through shoot-around, see how it goes.”
Chris Forsberg: Gordon Hayward on his broken hand… “Bone has healed, probably stronger than my right hand. There’s a plate in there with screws. The bone is good. … Tomorrow’s a possibility. See how I feel when I wake up, go through shootaround, see how it goes.”
The four week return would be much earlier than the initial six week prognosis, which is partly because of quick healing, and partly by design. “I think as it’s steadily improving and can do more and more, you start to think coming back a little bit earlier,” Hayward said. “I think you set the timeline a little bit later than what you’re hoping for just so that you guys and everyone else isn’t like, ‘If you’re late like, what’s the deal?’”
Jay King: Brad Stevens said Gordon Hayward will likely return to practice Sunday.
Hayward added that he expects to be dealing with effects from the injury throughout the season. “It’s definitely something where, hopefully not the rest of the season, but certainly a lengthy part of the season, I’m going to have to continue to get treatment, continue to ice it and kind of manage some of the symptoms,” Hayward said. “I don’t want it to get hit again, but I’m sure it will get hit again, and when that happens it’ll be sore. So I’ll manage that. But it’ll be something I deal with for the rest of the year.”
The initial Celtics timetable had Hayward projected to return six weeks after the surgery just ahead of Christmas and there has been no adjustment to that plan as of now. “It’s still hard to say exactly,” Hayward admitted when asked about a return plan. “But we have some good days here at home where I can practice and really do the things I want to do and kind of feel it out and see how it responds. I did a lot on it today, so I think it’s going to be more sore. It might swell up, so hopefully as soon as I’m done here go ice it and get some of the swelling down and kind of just take it day by day.”
On Tuesday, Hayward practiced with the team — stepping aside for live run to be an official, according to Brad Stevens — but he did something resembling contact drills with Celtics coaches. “I played a little kind of like hybrid contact today with coaches and stuff,” Hayward told reporters. “It’s definitely sore and I think that’s something I’ve got to work through. I’ve got to work through that to make my hand stronger, and hopefully over the next couple of days I can do that and get it kind of more the same strength of my right hand. I think it’s going to be a little while, and plus I was right-hand dominant anyway. So it’s definitely going to probably not be the exact same, but get it more strengthened so the percentage is closer to my right.”
Jay King: Gordon Hayward expects for deal with symptoms from his injury for a while after he returns. He did some structured contact drills with coaches today, cracked that they’re not exactly NBA players.
A. Sherrod Blakely: Gordon Hayward will have another meeting on Monday via FaceTime with his doctor to discuss the healing process on his surgically repaired left hand to see what’s the next step in his recovery process, according to #Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Jared Weiss: Important Gordon Hayward update: Hayward was able to continue gaming after the injury and said it actually served as rehab to keep his fingers moving.
Tim Bontemps: In other injury news, Stevens says Gordon Hayward’s recovery from surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand is “on pace.” Adds that rookie Tremont Waters, who was called up from the G-League today and is on a two-way, will be active if Walker doesn’t play against Sacramento.
Tom Westerholm: Brad Stevens says Gordon Hayward started shooting again this week. He doesn’t expect Hayward to lose much on that end, which is a positive with his injury.
“It’s a drop in a bucket, for sure,” said Hayward, meeting with reporters before Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards. “Like I said, happy that it shouldn’t be that long. Obviously frustrated — it sucks watching and not being able to go out there and play, especially with the start that we’ve had. I think this time around, I’ll be able to run around, use my legs still, maintain my conditioning, which I’m very thrilled about and then be around the team, too. And kinda stay involved, which is good.”
Hayward said surgeons inserted both a pin and a plate at the fracture to both stabilize and expedite the recovery process. He will not travel at the start of Boston’s upcoming five-game trip out west and will have a follow-up with the hand surgeon in New York while waiting for clearance to travel. Hayward appeared in good spirits despite the injury. His splint is already covered in drawings from his two oldest daughters, Charlotte and Bernadette. Despite his advice on color choices, he maintained a “Daddy’s Always Happy” face when detailing what his daughters sketched.
Jay King: Gordon Hayward said once the bone is healed it could become a pain tolerance thing. He thinks it could be helpful that it’s on his left hand.
Jay King: Gordon Hayward: “It’s frustrating, no doubt about it. … But I think with all things considered it’s not that bad and should be healed up pretty nicely pretty soon.”
Chris Forsberg: Six-week timeline puts Gordon Hayward on pace to return right before Christmas. Would miss 19 games if he returned in Toronto.
A. Sherrod Blakely: Brad Stevens said #Celtics Gordon Hayward (left hand fracture) had surgery beginning at 5 pm and the team will have update shortly after it is over.
Jared Weiss: Stevens said Hayward started surgery at five but update won’t come til after game. Brad asked for diagnosis: “It’s a broken hand…It was a metatarsal, I’m sure.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Boston’s Gordon Hayward will undergo surgery on his fractured left hand today, agent Mark Bartelstein tells ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Hayward will undergo surgery in New York this afternoon, a timeline on his return will come after the procedure, Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN.
Jay King: Brad Stevens said Gordon Hayward is at the doctor’s right now. If surgery is deemed the right option, it would probably be ASAP.
If it is a simple metacarpal fracture, what’s the best-case scenario for something like that generally? Dr, Flynn: With surgery, four weeks is feasible. Surgery can speed things up but the hand surgeon needs to decide if it would be necessary.
What’s the worst-case scenario for Hayward with this type of injury? For instance, Steph Curry is out at least three months after suffering his broken hand and having surgery? Why was that worse? Dr. Flynn: Curry had a second metacarpal fracture that was likely much more complex and possibly involved the joint.
Mark Murphy: Marcus Smart on losing Gordon Hayward: “We love seeing Gordon the way he’s been playing. We love seeing that Gordon. We just all feel so bad for him because he worked so hard to come back from one injury, with all the things he’s been doing, and now this happens.”
Chris Forsberg: Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward to reporters in San Antonio: “Broken hand. No timeline. He’s going to meet with the doctors tomorrow and decide if he needs to do surgery or not. Sounds like, should he decide that, the surgery option might actually be a better timeline.”
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October 28, 2020 | 1:45 am EDT Update
Could Gordon Hayward be planning on a similar move this offseason? That’s the buzz according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who discussed Hayward’s future on the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast. “There’s some buzz out there. And I can’t figure out what the buzz means,” Lowe said of Hayward’s potential free agency. “The buzz that I’m hearing is like the smoke, the smoke indicating that something is happening. I’m not sure what’s up, but I don’t think it’s a lock that Gordon Hayward is on the Celtics next year.”
And yet, rumors are swirling from multiple plugged-in NBA people that, even without fully knowing how much money there will be to spend, some NBA teams are already coming to deals with free agents. From Brian Windhorst and Bobby Marks of ESPN, via NBA Sports: Windhorst: I have already heard of a deal that’s been agreed to. Who knows whether it’s true or not? Marks: I had one agent – because I was talking about his free agent and salary projections, right? And he said, “Hey, you’re really low. I’ve already got two offers from two different teams.”
As a result, Gordon’s intent is to keep plugging away. In a new appearance on The Ashley Nevel Show, the 31-year-old explained why he isn’t expecting any major changes this offseason. Among his comments: We’ve always been a team that’s had high expectations. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen it for the last four years. You can’t forget, every team that we lost to, they ended up winning the championship.
For us, we definitely need to find ways to get over that hump. The chemistry could be better. … For us, we made a lot of change last year. We went small ball halfway through the season. … In the playoffs, it’s all about matchups. We’ve just got to be able to rally around the same group of guys, and build on more chemistry, and try to get better. Try to utilize everybody to play at their best. I think that’s going to make us better, in the long haul. I don’t think they’re going to rebuild this team. This team is good. I don’t care what a lot of people say, it doesn’t matter. Injuries and whatnot, we’ve seen it all here. We still win 50+ games, and we’re still going to be right there in the playoffs.
Lucas, thinking about the T-Mobile Center and fan support and even the Chiefs’ recent ascent, was all in. First, he sent out a tweet, sparking excitement. Then, days later, Lucas’ phone started to buzz once more. This time, folks were leading Lucas to a tweet that had been sent out by Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The reigning Super Bowl MVP similarly was vying for the Raptors to call Kansas City their temporary home. “It got some traction,” Lucas said. “It’s Patrick Mahomes.” Lucas grew enthralled with the idea, asking himself this question: “What do we have to do to make sure our ducks are in a row?” He called officials at the Kansas City Sports Commission. He called Missouri and Kansas delegations, both Republicans and Democrats, and gauged their responses — and it was all positive.
Tuesday, conversations continued and grew into a written letter signed by U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran as well as U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II. Not only did they send the letter to Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, but also it was directed toward Raptors ownership in hopes their effort, interest and potential were clear. “Here’s the thing: You don’t miss out on opportunities like this,” Lucas said. “You jump when you can.”