If the Celtics Make it to the Finals, Could Hayward Return?

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 16: Gordon Hayward
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 16: Gordon Hayward /

Following the Celtics’ victory against the Warriors,

Steph Curry

had high praise to the team.

When asked of the possibility of a Boston-Golden State finals he said, “Very, very likely, right?They’re playing the best right now in the East. Obviously, until they beat Cleveland, who has done it three years in a row, we’ll see. I hear the weather’s great [in Boston] in June, so we’ll see.”

With their current roster, I doubt the Celtics could seriously compete with the Warriors in a 7-game series. However, the return of a certain superstar may make things more interesting.

Following Gordon Hayward’s gruesome injury, the initial reports were that he would ‘most likely’ miss the remainder of the season. This was more of the overall consensus that the Celtics would not be able to produce a deep playoff run without the All Star forward.

Obviously, since the 14-game winning streak began, opinions have changed. This made me

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question if Hayward would be able to return depending on the Celtics’ playoff run.

Hayward suffered a two-part injury with both a dislocated ankle and a broken tibia, so I had to look into the recovery time of both.

According to The Stone Clinic: Orthopedic Surgery & Rehabilitation, it takes 12 or more weeks for an athlete to return to sports with the approval of their physical therapist. Hayward is currently 4 weeks removed from his injury, meaning he is just beginning to put touchdown weight on the ankle.

For this injury, it’s important to monitor when Hayward begins his isotonic ankle exercises, transitions to an AirCast and starts full weight-bearing and balance exercises.

To be safe, let’s say Hayward’s ankle dislocation will take 5 months to fully heal.

Now, let’s address the fractured tibia.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons writes that it normal takes between 4-6 months to return from this type of injury. While it may take more time, it’s rare unless it’s an open fracture or if the patient is unhealthy. Luckily, Hayward’s break did not penetrate skin and he appears to be in good health.

The broken tibia will be on a similar rehabilitation plan as his ankle. Early on, he will be encouraged to get motion in his leg, until he can put weight on it and eventually further his rehabilitation.

Like the dislocated ankle, let’s play it safe and say Hayward’s injury will take 7 months to heal.

Can you guess what’s 7 months from now? Yup, the NBA Championship.

The NBA Finals are set to begin on May 31st, which is over 7 months from the injury.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot has to happen for this to even be a possibility. I mean, sure, the Celts are doing great now, but they could just as easily go through a rough patch later in the season. Also, if Hayward isn’t comfortable coming back that early, it would be best to just rest him for the future.

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Still, if the C’s can make it to the Finals and Hayward is physically ready to play, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him return.