Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward will visit a hand specialist Monday to determine if he’ll need to have surgery on the fractured left hand he suffered in Saturday’s 135-115 road win over the San Antonio Spurs, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
If he does need surgery, that also will take place Monday, Bartelstein told Wojnarowski.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said that if Hayward does undergo surgery, it could lead to a quicker return.
“I just told him to keep his head up,” Stevens told reporters after the game. “At the end of the day, that’s all you can do. He’s worked hard. He’ll be in good shape. He’ll keep himself in good shape and he’ll be ready to go when he gets back. But now he needs to help encourage some of our wings off the bench to be ready to be called upon to add value to winning every night.”
The injury occurred when Hayward collided with Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who was trying to set a screen from behind that Hayward didn’t see coming. Aldridge was called for an offensive foul on the play, and Hayward, whose left arm got caught between his body and Aldridge’s, immediately began shaking his hand and went straight to Boston’s locker room.
A short time later, the Celtics announced that an X-ray had confirmed Hayward had suffered the fracture in his left hand and wouldn’t be returning to the game.
Hayward, who scored nine points in 15 minutes Saturday, is averaging 18.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in eight games this season for the Celtics, while shooting 55.5% overall and 43.3% from 3-point range.
That play has translated into rave reviews from scouts who have seen Hayward early on this season, as he has clearly benefited from a full offseason that was solely dedicated to working on his body and game. After missing all but six minutes of his first season with the Celtics following gruesome leg and ankle injuries in the opening game of the 2017-18 season against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hayward looked tentative at times throughout last season.
But after Hayward spent the summer living in Boston and working out at the team’s facility, the Celtics privately were excited about his progress, and multiple people around the team thought he was close to playing like the player he was with the Utah Jazz again. Through eight games, he’d made them look right. But now the Celtics will wait and find out how long it will be before they have him back in the lineup.
“You can talk to him about it, but ultimately, yeah, sure,” Stevens said, when asked if it was disappointing to lose Hayward when he’s playing so well. “Every year you go through stuff, where different things happen, and different guys go down. We’ve already seen some guys, some really good players in this league, get hurt, and it’s up to everybody else to pick up the slack and do their jobs. This one doesn’t feel nearly as bad as it did two years ago. He’ll be back. He’ll be off for a few weeks or a month or whatever he is.”
The Celtics, who are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the best record in the NBA after Saturday’s win, play again Monday back in Boston against the Dallas Mavericks.