BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics head coach Brad Stevens did not have an update on Gordon Hayward’s broken left hand when he met with reporters on Monday. Stevens confirmed that Hayward was meeting with a specialist in New York, a meeting that would determine if the forward will require surgery.
Stevens confirmed that having a procedure on the hand would actually improve Hayward’s timeline, but he didn’t have an answer on when Hayward may return either. It’s been reported that Hayward will likely miss 4-6 weeks after breaking his left hand Saturday night in San Antonio.
Hayward was having a career year for Boston, and was a big reason why the team sits at 7-1 on the young season. But Stevens said having one of their best players go down now does have some benefit to the rest of the roster.
“He was frustrated he was down, but this isn’t like last time,” said Stevens, alluding to Hayward’s season-ending ankle injury two years ago. “He’s going to miss time, but whenever you miss a little bit less time there can be a silver lining. There are a lot of games and we have an opportunity, now, for other guys to step up as he’s out. That will be the real challenge. We have a tough schedule, but when one of your guys goes down, it’s an opportunity for someone else.”
The Boston offense will continue to run through point guard Kemba Walker, but Stevens said on plays that would have gone to Hayward, the ball will now go to Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. The C’s will certainly miss Hayward’s scoring (he was averaging 18.9 points on 56 percent shooting) and his rebounding (second on the team at 7.1 rebounds per game), but Stevens said they’ll mostly miss a particular aspect of his game that doesn’t show up in the box score.
“We asked Gordon to do a lot; when he plays the way he’s playing, everyone notices the stats. But it’s the simple reads and passes that we have to make up for when he’s not here,” said Stevens. “Those are things we have to do by committee and I think our guys will be up to the challenge.
“We have a lot of versatile guys. Each guy brings their own specialties to the table,” added Stevens.
Tatum said the team has to take a “next man up” mentality over the next month-plus.
“Everyone just has to do more and be ready until he gets back. It’s going to be tough,” said Tatum.
The Celtics will get center Enes Kanter back for Monday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks in Boston. Kanter was in the Boston locker room Saturday night when Hayward made his way back for X-rays, and is confident that Hayward will be back to playing at a high level when he returns.
“I’m glad it’s his left hand and not his right hand. I mean, I was very sad for him but I know he’s a warrior and is going to come back stronger,” Kanter said Monday. “He wants to be out with his teammates and help them win. He was playing unbelievable this season, and like I said before the season, he’s back 100 percent and is going to shock the world. He was shocking the world, and I know he’s going to come back and be amazing again.”