Hayward did not practice with the Boston Celtics on Monday and the team has ruled him out for Game 1.
Javonte Green (right knee surgery) – DOUBTFUL
Gordon Hayward (right ankle sprain) – OUT
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 14, 2020
Hayward did go through a hard workout after the Boston practice, but it remains unclear exactly when he will return to the court.
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 14, 2020
Hayward suffered a grade III ankle sprain in the first game of the playoffs against Philadelphia and has been out ever since. He left the bubble for a while to get treatment, but he is back with the team and getting closer to a return. The initial timeline was at least a month and we are fast approaching 30 days.
Hayward could be Boston’s X-factor in the conference finals. He would give the Celtics another versatile player — along with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum — who can create his own shot and knock down open looks. Throw in Kemba Walker, and Hayward would be the fourth scoring option for Boston, which makes the Celtics deep and difficult to defend. Hayward also spent time guarding Butler during the regular-season matchups.
Hayward’s return date for this series is unclear, but if he is close to his vintage self it is a considerable boost for Boston in what will be a tight, challenging series.