Gordon Hayward injury update: Celtics star unlikely to return for playoffs

By @saihoops on
Gordon Hayward injury update, Gordon Hayward
Oct 17, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward (20) sits on the court after injuring his ankle during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. USA TODAY Sports / Ken Blaze

Boston Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return to the team ahead of the playoffs, according to coach Brad Stevens. Hayward, who left the Utah Jazz to sign with the Celtics last summer, suffered a horrific leg injury during Boston's opening night game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 17.

Hayward was stretchered off the floor at Quicken Loans Arena after fracturing his ankle barely five minutes into his debut with the Celtics. At the time, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Hayward would miss the remainder of the season. However, after a few videos of Hayward's speedy rehabilitation surfaced on social media, there was rampant speculation that the swingman could return at some point in the season.

With 21 games left on the Celtics' schedule, coach Stevens has effectively ruled out a return for Hayward. Celtics boss Danny Ainge had previously claimed that Hayward wouldn't return for the playoffs unless he plays at least a chunk of regular season games.

Gordon Hayward injury update: Celtics star not travelling with team

While addressing the media on Saturday, Stevens reaffirmed that Hayward is not on track to return this season. According to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, Hayward is still several weeks away from travelling with his teammates.

Earlier this month, Celtics star Kyrie Irving told ESPN's The Jump that he didn't want his co-star to rush his return. "I don't want him to rush back. We need him for years to come. It would be great if he came back this year. Hell, I miss him so much. He knows that. I just want him to do what's best for him," Irving said during the All-Star Weekend at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Hayward suffered the injury when his left leg bent awkwardly while going up for an alley-oop pass. He collided with Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and collapsed under the basket. Several onlookers described the injury as gruesome and career-threatening.

Gordon Hayward joined the Boston Celtics on a four-year, US$128 million (AU$163 million) max contract last offseason. He reportedly weighed offers from the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat before signing with the Celtics. Hayward averaged a career-high tally of 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists for the Jazz last season and made his first NBA All-Star game. Stay tuned for the latest Gordon Hayward injury update.