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Gordon Hayward speaks out on his first game back after ankle injury

Gordon Hayward Celtics 2

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward played his first game after being on the sidelines in over a month. Despite the long layoff, Hayward made a positive impact for the Celtics in their 117-106 Game 3 win over the Miami Heat.

The 30-year old admitted (via Mark Medina of USA Today) that he felt gassed after playing 31 minutes on Saturday. Likewise, he said his ankle, which he injured in Game 1 of their opening round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, feels pretty banged up.

Furthermore, he revealed that he struggled a bit in his first five minutes back on the floor. Nevertheless, he believes he should be fine moving forward as Boston tries to crawl its way back into these Eastern Conference Finals.

The Celtics didn’t indicate any kind of minutes restriction for Hayward prior to his return. Thus, it isn’t shocking to see him get thrown into the fire quickly even though he missed so much time.

In his 31 minutes on the floor, Hayward tallied six points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. As expected, the former All-Star struggled with his shot in his first game back, shooting just 2-of-7 from the field.

Despite the shooting woes, Hayward still provided the Celtics with steady playmaking and added versatility on the defensive end.

The Celtics led the entire contest and went up by as much as 20 points. Games 1 and 2 also saw the same scenario, where Boston built a double-digit lead, only to see Miami snatch the win in the end game. This time, however, the Celtics stood their ground in crunch time, even with the Heat threatening to come back with a late surge in the fourth quarter.

Gordon Hayward and the Celtics look to even up the series with Game 4 scheduled on Wednesday.