Gordon Hayward suffers fractured left hand in Saturday's game vs. Spurs

Ben Weinrib
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
Boston Celtics' Gordon Hayward plays against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Boston, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Celtics forward Gordon Hayward was in the midst of a bounce-back season before suffering the injury on Saturday. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward exited Saturday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs with a fractured left hand and will not return, the team announced.

Hayward suffered the injury with under two minutes remaining in the first half, and an X-ray confirmed its severity. He took a pick from LaMarcus Aldridge and was immediately in pain; Marcus Smart replaced him on the court, and Hayward did not join the team during warmups before the second half.

Prior to the injury, Hayward had scored nine points on 4-of-9 shooting (1-for-3 from three) with two rebounds, and one assist, steal and block.

It’s probably too soon for the team to have an a timetable for Hayward’s return, but the one-time All-Star could miss a significant amount of time. Stephen Curry just suffered a broken hand of his own, and he’s expected to miss at least three months, if not the entire season.

Immediately after the game, head coach Brad Stevens guessed that he would miss a few weeks to a month at minimum.

“Going to get with the doctors tomorrow and decide if he needs to do surgery or not,” Stevens said, via the Associated Press. “Sounds like should he decide that the surgery option (is best, it) might actually be a better timeline. So, we’ll see what that all plays out to be.”

The Celtics will have a better idea about his availability after Hayward meets with a specialist on Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. If needed, Hayward could even undergo surgery that same day.

Injury halts Hayward’s terrific bounceback season

This injury comes at a tough time for Hayward, who was finally looking like his old self after he spent all of last season easing back from a horrific leg injury in his Celtics debut in 2017. In the seven contests leading up to Saturday’s game, Hayward was averaging 20.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in the seven contests leading up to this game.

With the departures of Al Horford and Kyrie Irving, Hayward has picked up more of the scoring slack and slid into the starting power forward role. He’s even knocking down 44.4 percent of his threes, stretching opposing defenses alongside his younger teammates.

With Hayward out, Marcus Smart would likely slide into the starting lineup, while rookie Grant Williams could see more minutes at the power forward position. The Celtics have been used to working without Hayward at all or at full strength over the last two years, but with their recent free-agent departures, this could be their biggest test yet.

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