Boston Celtics F Gordon Hayward will be returning to the NBA bubble in Orlando on Sunday, per coach Brad Stevens. The forward will be subject to a four-day quarantine and after can return to the team. Stevens does not expect Hayward to be playing any time soon.
Brad Stevens said Gordon Hayward is due back in the bubble tomorrow but will then be subject to a four-day quarantine. Stevens said, "He's not gonna play anytime soon."— Steven Loung (@loung_s) September 5, 2020
Hayward injured his ankle in Game 1 vs. the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. He was diagnosed with a Grade 3 sprain and was ruled out for at least a month. So Hayward’s target date would look like some time in the middle of September, possibly in the Eastern Conference Finals if the Celtics advance past the Toronto Raptors. The Celtics lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
My thinking is even after Hayward is cleared for basketball activities and ready to return, Stevens won’t let him back into the lineup. If the Celtics are still around, why mess with chemistry? Hayward would likely come off the bench and play around 10-15 minutes if/when he returns. Whether or not he gets back into the starting lineup for Marcus Smart is still to be seen. I wouldn’t bet on Hayward coming back and making a huge impact.