UPDATE: Aug. 18, 1:16 p.m. — Hayward has been diagnosed with a Grade 3 ankle sprain and will miss four weeks. The Celtics F was injured in the Celtics’ Game 1 victory over the Sixers on Monday. He left late in the fourth quarter and was on crutches after the game.
Celtics’ Gordon Hayward has a Grade 3 right ankle sprain and will miss four weeks.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 18, 2020
With Hayward sidelined, the Celtics will likely move Jaylen Brown to SF with Marcus Smart playing SG in the rotation. Jayson Tatum would play PF in smaller lineups with Daniel Theis at C. This is a pretty significant injury for Boston, which has championship aspirations. There’s a chance Hayward could return later in the postseason should the Celtics make a deep run to the Eastern Conference Finals or NBA Finals.
UPDATE: Hayward will go for an MRI after spraining his right ankle, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Adrian Wojnarowski.
Boston's Gordon Hayward will undergo an MRI on his sprained right ankle tonight, sources tell @malika_andrews and me. He left the Game 1 victory over Philadelphia limping in the fourth quarter.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 18, 2020
Boston Celtics SF Gordon Hayward left Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first round vs. the Philadelphia 76ers due to an ankle sprain suffered late in the fourth quarter. Hayward was unable to return.
#NEBHInjuryReport Gordon Hayward (right ankle sprain) will not return.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) August 18, 2020
Hayward landed awkwardly on Daniel Theis’ foot while going for a rebound late in the fourth quarter and limped to the bench. He went to the locker room before being ruled out for the remainder of the game. With Hayward out, the Celtics went with a lineup with Marcus Smart at SF and Jayson Tatum at PF. Hayward finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals in 34 minutes.
The Celtics would go on to win 109-101 to take a 1-0 series lead. Hayward’s status for Game 2 on Wednesday will be the big storyline. He wasn’t all that productive on offense, but is a solid passer and defender. Losing Hayward just hurts the Celtics’ depth big time and would force more minutes from Smart. Outside of the starters and Smart, nobody played more than 13 minutes (Robert Williams). So we could see more of Time Lord with Tatum shifting to PF and Brown at SF if Hayward is ruled out for Game 2.