The Boston Celtics have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, and their reward could be the return of Gordon Hayward.
At least that’s what Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been led to believe. Stevens told reporters after Boston’s 92-87 Game 7 win over the Toronto Raptors that he expects Hayward will return during the conference finals against the Miami Heat.
“I think he’ll be back at some point in that series, but I don’t know when,” Stevens said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage.
Hayward had missed each of the last nine games as he suffered from a Grade III ankle sprain during the Celtics’ first-round sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Hayward was spotted on the court getting some shots up prior to Game 7 on Friday. Following Hayward’s injury, the Celtics expected him to be out at least four weeks while Stevens had said midway through even that timetable may be “aggressive.”
Hayward returned to Orlando after leaving the Orlando bubble and was released from quarantine on Friday.
The Celtics will take on the Heat in Game 1 on Tuesday.