Celtics News: Gordon Hayward's Ankle Injury Timetable 'Kind of Up in the Air'

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 20, 2020

Boston Celtics' Gordon Hayward (20) drives toward the basket as Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris (12) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Boston Celtics fans eager to learn when Gordon Hayward could return from a sprained ankle will need to lessen their expectations over the next few weeks. 

According to ESPN's Tim Bontemps, Hayward's recovery from a Grade 3 sprain may end up overlapping with the birth of his fourth child later this month. Hayward previously announced he'd leave the NBA bubble to rejoin his family for the occasion. 

That has Hayward admitting his timeline up in the air as far as when the Celtics could get him back on the court:

"As far as timeline, it's kind of up in the air. It's kind of just how my body responds to the rehab and all that stuff. So it's hard to say. No one knows, really.

"I think it's two separate things but it's something I'm taking a look at. It's just very unfortunate of the timing of the whole deal, so I think I'm just trying to take it day by day, and we're looking at scheduling for the baby and all that stuff, so it's taking it day by day."

The Celtics have gone 14-5 in 20 games without Hayward this year, including Wednesday's Game 2 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers in the First Round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

Boston already has a favorable matchup in its playoff series as All-Star Ben Simmons is out indefinitely with a knee injury. The Celtics have won the first two games by 35 combined points. Should Boston advance, however, the loss of Hayward will only be felt more.

The Toronto Raptors are up 2-0 in their series agains the Brooklyn Nets and a meeting with the reigning champions could be next for the Celtics. Boston went 3-1 against Toronto this season but had Hayward available for all four contests.

Now he's back on the sidelines with another injury and keeping his mind right will be just as important as any physical therapy. 

"The mental side of rehab is by far more difficult than the physical side of rehab," Hayward said. "There's a lot of time when you are alone and a lot of time when you are contemplating, a lot of time to think. The mental side is the hardest part. I think having good people around you is very key, it's very important, and I definitely have that."

Being around his family, rather than alone inside the NBA bubble, should help. 

Just don't expect it to make for a speedy return.