Celtics

What are Gordon Hayward’s recovery scenarios after fracturing left hand? Checking in with Dr. Flynn

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Gordon Hayward was playing some of the best basketball of his career over the past few weeks but that stretch came to a sudden halt on Saturday night against the Spurs after the swingman suffered a left-hand fracture following a collision with LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge was whistled for an illegal screen following the contact at the 1:34 mark of the second quarter that left Hayward immediately recognizing there was an issue with his left hand. He subbed himself out of the gate and headed to the locker room with a trainer before an x-ray revealed a fracture diagnosis.

Brad Stevens spoke about the injury after the C’s dominant 135-115 victory.

“Broken hand,” he said. “No timeline. He’s going to meet with the doctors tomorrow and decide if he needs to do surgery or not. Sounds like, should he decide that, the surgery option might actually be a better timeline.”

He later added: “Doesn’t feel nearly as bad as it did two years ago. He’ll be back. But he’ll be off for a few weeks, or a month, or whatever it is."

What exactly will the doctors be looking at later this weekend? What factors will there be in deciding between surgery or just natural healing? And who will those decisions influence his timeline? I caught up with Dr. Jessica Flynn this evening to get a better sense of the possibilities that could lie ahead for Hayward.

Do you have a sense of what type of fracture Hayward has suffered based on Stevens’ comments?

Dr. Flynn: The most likely fracture with that mechanism is a metacarpal fracture (the long bones in the hand that are like extensions of the fingers). Aron Baynes fractured his fourth metacarpal last season, had surgery and was back a month later.

What’s the worst-case scenario for Hayward with this type of injury? For instance, Steph Curry is out at least three months after suffering his broken hand and having surgery? Why was that worse?

Dr. Flynn: Curry had a second metacarpal fracture that was likely much more complex and possibly involved the joint.

If it is a simple metacarpal fracture, what’s the best-case scenario for something like that generally?

Dr, Flynn: With surgery, four weeks is feasible. Surgery can speed things up but the hand surgeon needs to decide if it would be necessary.

Would there be any reason to avoid doing surgery for a player like Hayward even if it could speed up the timeline?