Celtics optimistic Hayward will play in Game 3

Field Level Media

September 19, 2020 at 11:19 pm.

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward’s availability for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night depends on how he feels after pregame warmups.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters 90 minutes before the tip that he wanted to watch Hayward in pregame warmups. He said it will be Hayward’s call on whether he plays against the Miami Heat.

“He’ll tell us how he feels. He’s played 3-on-3 the last couple of days,” Stevens said. “I anticipate he’ll be able to play, but it will be his call. He’ll let us know.”

Stevens said Hayward will come off the bench if he plays and that his minutes will be monitored.

The Celtics, down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, face a must-win situation against Miami.

Hayward, 30, sustained a Grade III sprain of his ankle on Aug. 17 while attempting to box out Joel Embiid during Boston’s 109-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series. He hasn’t played since.

He left the NBA bubble near Orlando for medical treatment and returned nearly two weeks ago to quarantine and prepare to return to play.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the Celtics are optimistic that Hayward will play in Game 3 “barring a setback” in warmups.

Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists this season for Boston.