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Celtics' Gordon Hayward Ruled out vs. Pistons, MRI Clean on Foot Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 12: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics dribbles against the Philadelphia 76ers  at TD Garden on December 12, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Boston Celtics small forward Gordon Hayward will miss his second consecutive game due to a foot injury after being ruled out of Friday's contest against the Detroit Pistons, according to John Karalis of MassLive.com.

Per Karalis, an MRI on Hayward's foot revealed no structural damage.

Hayward is in the midst of his third season with the Celtics, and he has been productive when healthy, averaging 17.5 points per game on 55.6 percent shooting, including 39.5 percent from three-point range.

Injuries have been an issue for Hayward throughout his tenure in Boston, however. In 2017-18, Hayward suffered gruesome leg and ankle injuries in the season opener and went on to miss the remainder of the campaign.

The former Utah Jazz star returned to appear in 72 games last season, but he clearly wasn't the same player he was previously, as he averaged just 11.5 points per game compared to 21.9 in his final season with Utah.

Hayward has been much better this season, but a fractured left hand forced him to miss significant time, and this foot injury has limited him as well.

Head coach Brad Stevens has gotten used to working around Hayward's injuries this season, but the Celtics can ill afford to lose him for an extended period of time again.

If Hayward does land on the shelf, his production will likely need to be replaced by committee since there isn't another player on the roster with his type of versatile skill set and ability to contribute in all areas.

Since point guard Kemba Walker is already Boston's go-to scorer, most of the pressure to pick up the slack with Hayward out will fall on the shoulders of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

Stevens can also employ more size on the floor by utilizing centers Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis more often.

Competing in the top-heavy Eastern Conference without Hayward won't be easy, but given the fact they have worked around his injuries all season long, they have some pieces in place to help ease the loss of one of their top players.