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The truth behind Gordon Hayward’s return from ankle injury vs. Heat

Gordon Hayward, Celtics

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward made a surprise return to the team’s lineup during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat after a month’s absence. He only appeared in a total of five playoff games for the team due to an ankle injury sustained back in their first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 11-year veteran could barely jump upon his return due to a sustained nerve and retinaculum damage in his sprained ankle. Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy revealed that he was never at full playing condition which ultimately limited his productivity in the Celtics’ last few games of the season:

“Hayward’s return from a third-degree ankle sprain had an immediate impact. The Celtics won Game 3 in part thanks to his playmaking. But he went downhill from there, understandably so, according to a league source, who said the 30–year-old forward was “50-50” at best, and really in no position to impact a game. Through no fault of his own, Hayward’s time as a Celtic has never really taken off.”

The former Butler standout recorded a meager average of 10.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in four games played against the Heat. He also shot 40.5 percent from the field, 27.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 87.5 percent from the free-throw line during that span. His team ultimately succumbed to the Heat in six games which booted them out of the 2020 NBA Playoffs.

Despite being named to an All-Star game back in 2017, Hayward never regained his previous form in recent seasons with the Celtics. His level of play also decreased after he suffered a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle in his left leg back in his first game with the team.

After a failed Finals bid for the Boston-based squad, a handful of roster movements should be expected from the team in the upcoming offseason. We can only wait and see if Hayward will continue to don the Green and White colors for the Celtics next season.