BOSTON - Just when it seemed like things were starting to turn around for Gordon Hayward, another blow was dealt to the talented Boston Celtics forward.
Now two seasons removed from a terrible ankle injury sidelined Hayward for the entire 2017-18 campaign, Hayward seemed like he was officially back to his old self. The former All-Star as a member of the Utah Jazz struggled last year to regain his explosiveness and confidence in the wake of his leg injury.
But this season, Hayward was off to a scorching hot start. He was shooting over 55% from the field with a 43% shot rate from the three-point arc. Averaging, 18.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, Hayward had just put up 39 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a career-high total for him.
However, fate proved to be cruel when he was playing at his resurgent level against the San Antonio Spurs. While the Celtics came away with a 135-115 victory, Hayward checked out of the game early after he collided with LaMarcus Aldridge of the Spurs. The initial diagnosis from the Celtics was that he had fractured his left hand, as reported by ESPN.
Now, it is reported as a fractured ring finger, but it is still just a brutal injury for someone who was finally coming back into his peak form. Hayward just cannot catch a break.
The silver lining is this injury will not sideline him for the rest of the season. Yesterday, it was determined that he did need surgery for the fracture, but there was no major damage done to his hand. The surgery was merely seen as a way of getting him on the court again even sooner.
The timetable for his return, per ESPN, is a maximum of six weeks off the court, but this still could potentially vary. It could have been worse, but it is still disheartening to see this happen to someone who was finally on the upswing again.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart told MassLive that his heart went out to Hayward and that such an injury is just unfair to someone who worked so hard to get back on the court. Fortunately, players like Smart will be able to keep the Celtics running at a solid clip until Hayward is able to return to the fold.
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