Gordon Hayward did not practice on Monday afternoon with the rest of his teammates on the final day of preparation for teams before the Eastern Conference Finals. While he did take part in a hard workout session after practice in a small group, he was ruled out by the team ahead of Game 1 on Monday evening.
“He didn't go through our normal practice," Brad Stevens said. "He went through a hard pep workout, what we call our small group workouts after practice. He looked good when he was going through it, but there's a big difference between doing that and actually getting into a game. I don't know officially what that means as we move forward. But he's getting better.”
Hayward has been back with the team since Friday after finishing out his four-day quarantine upon returning to the Orlando bubble as he rehabs from a Grade 3 ankle sprain.
“Happy to have him back, just to even be around,” Jayson Tatum said of Hayward. “Obviously we hope he can play, get back healthy. Just to have G back around the team has been good.”
While Stevens said Sunday that he expects Hayward to play in the East Finals, there still remains a question of whether he will leave the bubble again to be with his wife for the birth of their fourth child later this month. Stevens declined to comment on Hayward’s plans on that front, as speculation swirled that Hayward would no longer be leaving the bubble for the momentous occasion.
For now, the Celtics will likely just be planning to proceed for the early games of this series without the swingman as he continues to recover from the serious sprain. It would be a surprise if Hayward returned in a major role once he is cleared to return to the floor given the length of his absence. However, those decisions will fall on Stevens once the veteran is given the green light at some point in the next two weeks.
“Since I’ve seen him last, it’s good progress,” Stevens said on Sunday. “I know he feels better. He’s worked hard to get to where he is and I think he’ll play at some point in this series. As far as predicting a timeline, I have no idea. But I feel like he’s made good progress and will play eventually.”
More Celtics families arrive in the bubble
For the first time in over two months, several Celtics will have a chance to see their family members in person in Orlando this week.
Several Celtic families have made the trip to Orlando for the Eastern Conference Finals, including Tatum’s