Stevens on Hayward: “I think he’ll play at some point in the series”

Hayward could give the Celtics a Ginobili like spark off the Bench

After practice yesterday, Brad Stevens gave an update on the status of Gordon Hayward. It's now been 4 weeks since Hayward suffered the Grade 3 ankle sprain in Game 1 of the series vs Philly. The timetable for his return was listed at 4-6 weeks. By Stevens comments, I'd be shocked if Hayward is available this week, so the earliest we are looking at is Game 4 for a return.

While the Celtics blew chances to defeat the Raptors in less than 7 games, it's also worth noting that Toronto isn't the same defending champion team without Kawhi Leonard. Reality is the Celtics would have easily taken down the Raptors if they had Gordon Hayward. With Marcus Smart forced to start in Hayward's place, the Celtics bench is woefully inadequate. There is no James Posey 6th man. Don't even think there is a 7th or 8th man. Time Lord and Wanamaker are more like 9th and 10th men, while Semi and Grant really shouldn't be playing in playoff games on a championship team.

It is what it is, because last year the Celtics had too much depth. Too many mouths to feed and that messed with the team's chemistry. Ainge has a solid top 6 on this team when everyone is healthy, but he was not able to add needed role player whether through the draft, free agency, or trades to compliment them. There was no James Posey and Eddie House signings late last summer or PJ Brown and Sam Cassell additions after the trade deadline this time around.

Right now I have the Celtics winning the championship IF they have their top 6 of the starters and Hayward all fully healthy. I mean anything is possible, they still could win without Hayward (or an injury to a starter), but the odds decrease a good deal. I'm expecting Hayward to come off the bench upon his return, as Marcus has been excelling in the starter role. Hayward could give the Celtics a Manu Ginobili like presence off the bench in the ECF and hopefully NBA Finals.

Expect the Celtics to be extra cautious as bringing him back too soon and. setback would likely knock Gordon out for the rest of the playoffs.

Update Monday, 2:20PM: