Boston rules Gordon Hayward out for Game 1 against Miami

Gordon Hayward return
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Gordon Hayward is expected to play for Boston at some point during the Eastern Conference Finals, but that some point will not be Game 1.

Hayward did not practice with the Boston Celtics on Monday and the team has ruled him out for Game 1.

Hayward did go through a hard workout after the Boston practice, but it remains unclear exactly when he will return to the court.

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.