Celtics

Hayward’s agent says he’s ‘unlikely’ to return this season

Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports

Multiple members of Gordon Hayward's immediate family confirmed on Wednesday evening that Hayward underwent surgery in Boston on his left leg to help repair an ankle dislocation and tibia fracture. Hayward's wife, Robyn, shared in an Instagram message late Wednesday evening that the surgery went well.

Multiple reports also surfaced on Wednesday, including one from Mike Lynch of WCVB, who indicated that Hayward's fracture was clean and the All-Star forward could potentially return to the floor in March during a best-case scenario.

Hayward's agent Mark Bartelstein quickly threw cold water on that report on Thursday morning though while speaking with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. Bartelstein deemed Hayward "unlikely" to return this season after undergoing successful surgery Wednesday night.

BSJ Analysis: Given the mixed messages, it makes sense to believe Hayward's camp on a likely recovery timetable. In fact, it is quite easy to see why Bartelstein is trying to get out ahead of this story before any other timetable reports surface. The smart play for Hayward and the Celtics, in my mind, is to create the expectation that the 27-year-old wing won't return to the court this year, even if his recovery timetable indicates it is possible he's back in March or April.

By declaring that he's likely out for the year now, it not only takes some pressure off of Hayward, it eliminates the constant stream of questions that Brad Stevens and Hayward's teammates would face as a hypothetical target return date drew closer. An indefinite timetable ensures that the 6-foot-8 All-Star does not try to rush back in order to fulfill a target date or expectation that was made public.