The Boston Celtics picked up a big win in Game 1 of their first round series with the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, as their young star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were sensational.
Unfortunately, the final minutes of the game when Boston began pulling away saw their other star wing, Gordon Hayward, go down with a right ankle sprain after he landed on Daniel Theis’ foot under the basket and rolled his ankle badly. Hayward immediately went to the locker room and left the arena after the game on crutches, with an MRI scheduled to determine the severity of the injury.
On Tuesday, the Celtics announced the results of that MRI showed a Grade 3 sprain, which will keep him out for approximately four weeks, depending on how much pain and swelling he is dealing with.
#NEBHInjuryReport Celtics forward @gordonhayward suffered a Grade III sprain of his right ankle during the fourth quarter of last night’s game against Philadelphia. He is expected to miss approximately four weeks.
Further updates will be provided as appropriate.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) August 18, 2020
While the Celtics certainly have the firepower on the wing to make due without Hayward, it puts a much larger load on Brown and Tatum, both in taking away a creator on the floor with them and also a player who can run the offense when they’re on the bench. How Brad Stevens now handles the minutes of Brown and Tatum will be interesting to watch, as they are the obvious keys to a deep playoff run and now might need to play even more earlier than Boston hoped.
The four-week timetable would bring Hayward back in mid-September, but it’s possible he’s gone longer as his wife, Robyn, is due to have their baby in September and Hayward had said earlier this summer that he would leave the Bubble, as Mike Conley did this week, for the birth of his latest child. Boston had always had that absence built into their potential playoff plans, but now his ankle sprain means they could be without Hayward for much of their playoff run.