The Boston Celtics have not had the services of Gordon Hayward since their first playoff game in the NBA’s Orlando Bubble. Due to a sprained ankle that he suffered in that game, Hayward has been on the sidelines working to get back to a place where he can play, even leaving Disney World at one point to get treatment.
But in recent days, reports have indicated that Hayward is getting closer and closer to playing. The former All-Star forward was upgraded to questionable on Friday and the team was optimistic about his chances to play on Saturday morning. His status was eventually confirmed by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Sources: Celtics‘ Gordon Hayward is available to play in Game 3 vs. Miami after missing a month with ankle sprain. He will come off bench.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 19, 2020
Earlier in the day, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said that if Hayward was able to go, he’d be on something of a minutes restriction.
Brad Stevens says Gordon Hayward will come off the bench and will be on "minutes monitoring." Stevens said it will be up to Hayward if he can go, but said that he expects him to play tonight in Game 3, as @wojespn reported earlier.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) September 19, 2020
Hayward brings reinforcements to a Celtics team that can really use a shot in the arm right now. The team finds itself in an 0-2 hole in the Eastern Conference Finals against the feisty Miami Heat, and while Hayward won’t single-handedly save the day, he brings a level of shot creation and playmaking that could really help Boston, particularly because their downfall in both games so far have been lethargic stretches in which Miami have gotten back into games. At the bare minimum, Hayward gives them someone else who can make things happen should one of those stretches hit.
Game 3 between the Celtics and the Heat tips off at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.