SAN ANTONIO — Gordon Hayward’s resurgent start to the 2019-20 NBA season took a hit Saturday when the Boston Celtics announced at halftime the forward would miss the rest of the team’s matchup against the San Antonio Spurs due to a fractured left hand.
“Broken hand, no timeline,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “[He’s] going to get with the doctors tomorrow and decide if he needs to do surgery or not. It sounds like should he decide that, the surgery option might actually be a better timeline. So we’ll see what that all plays out to be. Who knows? It’s too bad.”
Hayward suffered the injury with 1:34 left in the second quarter after he collided with Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who was whistled for an offensive foul on the play.
Guarding Dejounte Murray as the point guard drove to the basket, Hayward turned to chase, and smashed into LaMarcus Aldridge, who was standing behind him posting up Daniel Theis under the basket. Hayward appeared to be unaware that Aldridge was standing right behind him, as he turned to run with Murray. Hayward’s left hand appeared to hit Aldridge’s right elbow.
Hayward immediately doubled over in pain, before leaving the court with a Celtics athletic trainer and heading into the locker room.
An X-ray examination revealed the fracture. Marcus Smart started the second half in Hayward’s place.
At this point it remains unknown how much time this latest setback will force Hayward to miss.
“I was pissed,” said teammate Kemba Walker. “I didn’t say anything. I was really in shock for the most part. In those kinds of situations, it’s kind of hard to even say anything. You don’t even know what to say sometimes. We’re going to miss him for the time that he’s out.
“Obviously, he’s been through a lot with his old injury and now this. It’s always hard to see one of your brothers go down. I definitely wish him a speedy recovery.”
Hayward entered the matchup in San Antonio on Saturday averaging 20.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists in what appeared to be shaping up as a resurgent season for the forward, who suffered a devastating ankle injury in 2017-18 that forced him to miss the entire season.
Hayward played 72 games last season, averaging 11.5 points. But it was clear in 2018-19 that Hayward hadn’t quite returned to form from the ankle injury that sidelined him the previous season.
“This one doesn’t feel near as bad as it did two years ago,” Stevens said. “So he’ll be back. He’ll be off a few weeks, a month, or whatever it is. I just told him to keep his head up. It’s all you can do. He’s worked hard, he’ll keep himself in good shape and he’ll be ready to go when he gets back.”