Celtics Notebook: Gordon Hayward’s recovery plan, Kemba’s effort plays

(Michael Reeves/Getty Images)

It's hard not to feel for Gordon Hayward. The veteran swingman has dealt with countless injury setbacks since his arrival in Boston in 2017 and his run of bad luck continued earlier this week.

When the 30-year-old landed on the foot of Daniel Theis in the fourth quarter of Game 1, it looked like a classic ankle turn on video. However, Hayward knew it wouldn’t be a minor injury right away.

“I heard it and felt it and knew it wasn’t just (a) casual rolled ankle,” Hayward said Thursday. “It was swollen by the time I was leaving the court, so I knew that it was definitely worse than normal.”

Hayward was diagnosed with a Grade III ankle sprain hours later and now his postseason availability is in question even if the Celtics make a deep postseason run after being ruled out for at least four weeks.

“It’s definitely gutting,” Hayward said. “It sucks. There’s nothing else to say about that. So, it’s definitely frustrating. It doesn’t feel great at the moment. Just try to get better as soon as I can.”

Hayward had already planned on leaving the bubble anyway at some point in September to be with his wife for the birth of his child. While he plans on remaining in Orlando to rehab for now with the team and its trainers, it is possible he could join his wife in Indiana ahead of the birth due date.

"I think it's two separate things," Hayward said, referring to his injury and leaving the bubble to be with his wife during the birth of their son. "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 challenge now for the swingman will be to maintain a positive mindset regarding the possibility of a return to play despite the long road to recovery from a Grade III sprain.

"It's hard," Hayward said of not getting down. "It's hard not to get into that. I think teammates, family,