Gordon Hayward isn’t going to be watching from the bench for much longer.
The Boston Celtics wing, who broke his left hand just four weeks ago, told reporters on Sunday afternoon that he is back to normal and could even return for their matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on Monday night.
“Tomorrow’s a possibility,” Hayward said, via MassLive.com. “[I’ll] see how I feel when I wake up, go through shootaround, see how it goes.”
Hayward first injured his hand on Nov. 9 after a collision with San Antonio Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge. He had surgery just days later, and was expected to be out for at least six weeks.
According to the Celtics: Gordon Hayward has been diagnosed with a left hand fracture. Here's the play where it happened: pic.twitter.com/Vwd3FpJsfS
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 9, 2019
He resumed non-contact drills with the team late last month, and said then that he felt like his recovery was “ahead of schedule.” Hayward officially participated in his first full practice with the team on Sunday, and said his bone is fully healed — largely thanks to a plate that was inserted into his hand.
In fact, Hayward said he felt like his left hand was now stronger than his right.
While they didn’t do anything too difficult in practice Sunday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens was impressed with what he saw. Whether he plays on Monday, however, is up to the training staff.
“We didn’t obviously do much, but he got through everything,” Stevens said, via MassLive.com. “We didn’t go any live segments with players. We worked in small groups, but nothing 5-on-5 … [We’ll] see how it feels and then go from there with whatever they’ve got planned for him.”
Hayward got off to a great start for the Celtics this season, averaging 18.9 points and 7.1 rebounds through the first eight games. Boston has fared well without him, too, dropping just four games since he went down with the injury — three of which were decided by four points or less.
He will, however, be a welcome addition for a Celtics team with championship ambitions chasing the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
And after suffering a brutal season-ending leg injury in his Celtics debut in 2017, Hayward is more than ready to get back out there.
“This injury is nothing compared to the last one I went through, but certainly when you’re out, you definitely miss it,” Hayward said, via MassLive.com. “And when you’re in all the games not injured, you don’t realize that sometimes.”
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