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Celtics’ Gordon Hayward officially ruled ‘out’ for Game 1 vs Heat

Gordon Hayward, Celtics, Hawks

Boston Celtics swingman Gordon Hayward is expected to return at some point against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it won’t be in Game 1 on Tuesday. The Celtics officially ruled out the one-time All-Star in the series opener, who is still recovering from the grade III ankle sprain he sustained in the first round.

Gordon Hayward has endured a lot of injuries since moving to Beantown in 2017. The injury bug forced him to sit out several games in the 2019-20 regular season, but he still managed to appear in 52 games. He tallied 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 dimes on 50 percent shooting from the field and 38.3 percent from three. He landed awkwardly in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter of Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers and has been out of commission ever since.

The 6-foot-7 winger is pegged as one of the X-Factors for Boston in their East Finals clash against the red-hot Heat. While the Celtics terrific tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown has done a phenomenal job in Hayward’s absence, the C’s could certainly use the 30-year-old’s versatility versus Miami.

His presence alone adds another dimension to head coach Brad Stevens’ dynamic offense, and would certainly add more pressure to the Heat’s perimeter defense. Moreover, Hayward was brilliant against Miami during the regular season. Despite Hayward’s status, Stevens believes that the 10-year vet will soldier on and make himself available for the important series. The Celtics don’t have a timetable for Hayward’s return just yet, but his participation in light contact drills is already a great sign.