Gordon Hayward’s bad luck with injuries appears to have followed him to Charlotte.
Hayward, who signed a four-year, $120 million contract with the Hornets last month after spending the past three seasons with the Boston Celtics, suffered an avulsion fracture of the fifth metacarpal on his right (shooting) hand during Charlotte’s 112-109 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday.
The Hornets said his return will be based on pain tolerance and comfort level.
Hayward missed all but the first six minutes of his first season in Boston after suffering gruesome foot and ankle injuries in the first game of the 2017-18 season.
After playing 72 games but often struggling in 2018-19, Hayward appeared to be close to his former self last season with the Celtics — averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 50% from the field, 38% from 3-point range and 85% from the foul line — but he played in only 52 of Boston’s 72 games because of a variety of injuries.
He suffered a broken bone in his left hand in November 2019, and then he had nerve issues in his previously injured left foot in December 2019. He then missed 12 of Boston’s 17 playoff games inside the NBA’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort because of a Grade 3 right ankle sprain suffered in a Game 1 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.
Hayward started both of Charlotte’s preseason games against Toronto, averaging 12.5 points. Charlotte opens its regular season on Dec. 23 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.