Gordon Hayward is expected to miss six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fracture to the fourth metacarpal in his left hand on Monday evening, the Boston Celtics announced.
Hayward suffered the injury when he collided with San Antonio Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge in the second quarter of Saturday’s Celtics win. He entered the game averaging 20.3 points on 56/44/84 shooting splits to go along with 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 33.5 minutes a game.
An All-Star with the Utah Jazz in 2017, Hayward had finally returned to form after missing all but the first six minutes of his debut season for the Celtics with a gruesome leg injury two years ago and struggling to find consistency in his comeback campaign last season. Hayward and the Celtics will hope the six-week absence does not further disrupt his ability to play at peak level.
Marcus Smart started in Hayward’s absence against the Dallas Mavericks, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens indicated prior to Monday night’s game that Semi Ojeleye and rookie reserves Javonte Green, Carsen Edwards and Romeo Langford could all see increased playing time with Hayward out. Among them, the 26-year-old Green, who played overseas the past four years after graduating from Radford University, saw the first action off the bench against Dallas.
“Marcus in an ideal scenario provides us so much experience off the bench,” Stevens said before the outcome of Hayward’s surgery, which went according to plan on Monday. “Should we start him, we’re going to have to manage that with early rotations and subs. Obviously, that’s something we’re going to have to figure out in the next 4-6 weeks, what’s best for our team, and we’ll go from there. Hopefully Gordon’s stuff goes well and we’re back to full at that point.”
The Celtics entered Monday’s meeting with the Mavericks with the NBA’s best record, having won seven straight games after a season-opening loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Hayward’s performance was a big part of Boston’s ability to overcome the free-agency losses of All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in the early going. Six weeks would peg Hayward’s return for their Christmas Day game with the defending champion Toronto Raptors, an absence of 19 games.
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