Gordon Hayward just can’t catch a break.
The Boston Celtics forward left Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks after an ugly collision with Hawks forward John Collins. Hayward was diagnosed with a strained neck, and did not return to Boston’s eventual 129-120 victory.
(You can click here to watch the play.)
After the game, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens revealed that a “woozy” Hayward left after halftime. There was no further update.
Hayward has experienced something of a resurgence over the last two weeks, so this injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. Of course, the hope for Boston is the veteran forward is just fine and has no lingering affects heading into the playoffs.
Additionally, Stevens revealed that Al Horford, who has battled a sore knee for much of the season, will be limited over the final 13 games.
With the Celtics still stuck in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, they can ill-afford to not be at full strength down the stretch.
Still, it’s more important that Boston has its full compliment of stars ready to go for the postseason, so it makes sense if the team is extra cautious over the next few weeks.
Here are some other notes from Celtics-Hawks:
— The Celtics blew a 25-point second-half lead to Atlanta, but managed to escape with a victory.
“We let go of our intensity from the end of the third through the middle of the fourth,” Stevens said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “They got back in it — can’t do it.”
— Kyrie Irving has picked a great time to play his best basketball of the season.
— Speaking of playing their best basketball of the season.
— Irving had a career-high 11 rebounds against Atlanta. His previous career high was 10 rebounds, a feat he accomplished five times.