Celtics forward Gordon Hayward underwent surgery Monday evening to repair a fractured fourth metacarpal in his left hand, and the team announced during Monday’s 116-106 win over the Dallas Mavericks that he is expected to be sidelined for about six weeks.
When referencing Hayward’s injury before Monday’s game, head coach Brad Stevens alternately referred to a four- or six-week recovery.
Hayward suffered the injury when he collided with Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge in the first half of Boston’s win over San Antonio on Saturday. He traveled to New York on Monday to have his hand further evaluated.
Stevens previously said Hayward could speed up his recovery time a bit by undergoing surgery.
“He was frustrated,” Stevens said. “He was down. But this isn’t like last time. I mean he’s going to miss some time, but whenever you miss a little bit less time, there can be a silver lining. There’s a lot of games. We’ve got an opportunity now for other guys to step up as he’s out.”
Hayward is averaging 18.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game on 56 percent shooting. The forward missed almost all of the 2017-18 season after suffering a gruesome ankle injury in the season opener. This injury is not nearly as serious as that one.
“I’m just glad it’s his left hand,” center Enes Kanter said Monday. “It’s not his right hand. I mean, I was very sad for him, but I know he’s a warrior. I know he’s going to come back stronger and do his best to get rehab. He wants to be out there with his teammates and help them win.
“The crazy thing is, he was playing an unbelievable season.”
Marcus Smart started in place of Hayward, scoring eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Kanter got a standing ovation when he entered Monday’s game late in the first quarter, his first home action with the Celtics after missing Boston’s last seven games with a knee contusion he suffered in the season-opening loss to the 76ers.
“They just wanted me to be 100 percent,” said Kanter, who had three rebounds and two points in 5:54, all in the first half. “They just didn’t want me to be 95 percent. They wanted me to be 100 percent and feel comfortable. It’s more of a confidence thing, because when you come back from an injury and when you are playing five-on-five, you are still thinking about it. You’re still thinking about what’s going to happen.”
Romeo Langford was recalled Sunday from the Maine Red Claws after his 27-point performance in their season opener, but didn’t play Monday due to illness.
Langford could give the Celtics another option as they look to replace Hayward, but Stevens stressed that this stint in Boston will likely be short for the rookie.
“Romeo will be here this week, and then we’ll make the assessment after that,” Stevens said. “Knock on wood, we don’t have any injury issues or anything else. Then we just want to get him as much time as possible.
“So we would probably send him back [to the Red Claws] at the end of the week, but that’s totally dependent on what’s going on with our team.”