NBA Rumors: Celtics’ Gordon Hayward Returned From Ankle Injury Too Soon?

Hayward reportedly needed about two-plus more weeks of rehab

by Ricky Doyle

September 28, 2020

Gordon Hayward didn’t look like his usual self after returning from an ankle injury during the Eastern Conference finals, and perhaps there’s a good reason for that, aside from rust related to his month-long layoff.

The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn, citing an NBA source, reported Sunday night after the Miami Heat eliminated the Celtics from the playoffs with a 125-113 win in Game 6 that Hayward sustained nerve and retinaculum damage in his sprained ankle and could barely jump.

“He needed about two-plus more weeks of rehab that the Celtics just didn’t have,” Washburn wrote. “So he played on one leg.”

Hayward suffered his ankle injury Aug. 17 in Game 1 of Boston’s first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, which ended with a Celtics sweep. He returned Sept. 19 in Game 3 of the conference finals against Miami, after missing Boston’s entire seven-game, second-round series against the defending champion Toronto Raptors.

The 30-year-old forward looked decent immediately upon returning, but his effectiveness — particularly as it relates to the entirety of Boston’s offensive approach — waned as the series against Miami progressed, likely a product of the ailment and rushing back too quickly.

One could argue the Celtics had no choice, as they trailed the Heat 2-0 at the time Hayward rejoined Boston’s rotation off the bench. They needed a spark, and, temporarily at least, he provided it.

But again, it was obvious Hayward wasn’t 100 percent. And that ultimately hurt the Celtics’ chances of overcoming a formidable opponent in pursuit of an NBA Finals berth.

Hayward, who signed with Boston as a free agent before the 2017-18 campaign, has a $34 million player option for next season.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton
Previous Article

Shannon Sharpe Gives Cam Newton Surprisingly High Grade For Week 3

Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom
Next Article

Here’s Where Red Sox Will Draft Next Year If Order Determined By 2020 Record

Picked For You