Hayward is expected to miss approximately four weeks with the injury, per the team. It adds to a long list of injuries suffered by the 30-year-old since his arrival in Boston.
“Yeah, really tough for him, obviously tough for us,” Stevens told reporters. “He’s had a heck of a season and played really well here (in Orlando). But it’s the other ankle, it’s his right ankle this time. Just kind of one of those freak things, you know, it happens in basketball all the time. But feel for him more than anything else and it’s our job to make up for all the great things that he does by committing, and we’ll attempt to do so.”
“When I saw him go down and get up, and just the look on his face, the agony on his face, I was a little terrified,” Smart said, per MassLive’s John Karalis. “I thought it was the same ankle that he hurt. He said it wasn’t, so in that aspect, that’s a good sign. But at the same time, we lose one of our guys. It’s tough to see anybody go down with an injury, especially when you’ve been playing great basketball, you’re starting to peak at the right time and your team needs you.”
Hayward was looking like the player who attracted the Celtics’ attention prior to signing in 2017. He showed a burst off the dribble, an ability to facilitate the offense and aggression while going to the rim. He averaged nearly 19 points in the team’s eight seeding games and scored 12 points in 34 minutes Monday before the fourth-quarter injury.
The Celtics looked as deep as they had all season with Hayward’s play recently. Stevens is hopeful the Celtics still will be able to put together a deep postseason run even with their depth taking a hit.
” … I think we can certainly do a lot here, but all that stuff is to be determined. We haven’t gotten into that depth of that conversation,” Stevens told reporters. “But (Hayward’s) bummed, as you can imagine. He put in a lot of time and effort and you do so for this time, for the playoffs. I think that’s what we all look forward to. We’ve been really lucky thus far in the bubble to have good health, and of course, Game 1, we don’t. But that’s part of it, we’ve lived this before and we’re going to have to have other people step up. And that’s why you have a team.”
The Celtics, who own a 1-0 series lead, will return to the floor Wednesday as they face the 76ers in Game 2 of the best-of-seven playoff series. Tip off is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.