Gordon Hayward hasn't had the cleanest bill of health over the past couple of years. On the opening night of the 2017-18 NBA season, he severely dislocated his left ankle and fractured his left tibia, forcing him to miss the rest of the campaign.
"You always think about the worst-case scenario," Hayward said, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "Certainly on the play, I didn't know exactly what happened. But I heard it and felt it, and knew something immediately was wrong. That's why I signaled, 'Let's go check this out.'"
An X-ray revealed that Hayward had fractured the fourth metacarpal in his left hand. The 29-year-old was relieved, though, to learn that his latest recovery timeline would only span six weeks.
"... I'm just happy that I relatively got good news, and I shouldn't be that long," Hayward said.
The former Butler standout had a pin and plate inserted into his hand as part of the procedure to help speed up his recovery, Bontemps adds.
Given what he's already been through, Hayward is eager to tackle a less restrictive rehab program than he's used to.
"It's a drop in a bucket for sure," Hayward admitted. "... I think this time around, I'll be able to run around, use my legs still, maintain my conditioning, which I'm very thrilled about, and then be around the team, too. And kinda stay involved, which is good."
Prior to the injury, Hayward was averaging 18.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists, while converting 55% of his field-goal attempts and 43% of his 3-point attempts.
Entering Thursday's slate of games, Boston leads the Eastern Conference with a 9-1 record.