The Boston Celtics’ road to an NBA championship just got harder. In game 1 against the 76ers, small forward Gordon Hayward suffered an ankle injury. He jumped to grab a rebound, then landed awkwardly and twisted his ankle severely.
Hayward is expected to miss 4 weeks of action. This means he won’t return until at least the Eastern Conference Finals (if the Celtics make it that far).
This is very unfortunate and untimely news for Hayward, who was starting to look more and more like the All-Star caliber player he was in Utah before the horrible injury he suffered in 2017. After a down year in his first season back in 2018-19, Hayward took on a much larger role for the Celtics this year – and produced.
He started all 52 games he appeared in, averaging 17.5 points on 50.0/38.3/85.5 shooting splits. Hayward grabbed a career-high 6.7 rebounds per game as well.
As of now, head coach Brad Stevens hasn’t made a statement on who will replace Hayward in the lineup. However, defensive-minded guard Marcus Smart, who started 40 games in the regular season, will likely be the one called on.
The Celtics are currently up 2-0 against the 76ers in their best-of-7 series. They’ll look to carry the momentum into Game 2 without Gordon Hayward.