Celtics coach Brad Stevens said forward Gordon Hayward is expected to take part in Sunday’s full practice, his first since breaking a bone in his left hand Nov. 9.
Hayward has been doing live contact drills with assistant coaches this week but had yet to be cleared for a team workout. The Celtics will be off Saturday.
The Celtics face the Cavaliers on Monday at TD Garden. Stevens said it is unclear when Hayward will be cleared to play in a game, but added that it is increasingly likely that he will be back before Boston’s Christmas Day road matchup against the Toronto Raptors.
“He’s done a lot,” Stevens said. “He did some live stuff with coaches that was controlled yesterday again.”
Hayward suffered the fracture when he collided with LaMarcus Aldridge during Boston’s 135-115 win in San Antonio. He underwent surgery two days later and was ruled out for about six weeks. But it appears probable that he will return before that much time passes.
Hayward had appeared to regain his All-Star form prior to his injury. He is averaging 18.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 55 percent from the field this season.
Smart back after one game
Guard Marcus Smart returned for the Celtics’ 108-95 win over the Nuggets on Friday night after missing one game because of an illness and a bruised oblique.
Smart was injured in a collision with the Knicks’ Kevin Knox during Boston’s 113-104 win in New York last Sunday.
“Still sore, but the soreness is at a lower level,” said Smart, who scored 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 28 minutes. “It really doesn’t stop me with my movements. My breathing is getting better, a lot better. So that’s good. But from the oblique, and just the sickness came out of nowhere, it’s been a lot for me over the last 72 hours.”
Poirier returns from Maine
Celtics center Vincent Poirier, who had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Red Claws in their loss to Wisconsin on Thursday night, rejoined the Celtics for Friday’s game. Poirier, who signed with Boston last summer after playing overseas, had played just 32 minutes for the Celtics, so the brief stop in Maine was a chance for him to grab some playing time.
He got in for three minutes Friday, hitting his only shot.
“It was all about conditioning,” Stevens said. “I thought he played really well [Thursday] night. But I think if we have guys out, Vincent could be in our second unit [and] we’d feel great about it. We think he’s ready to do that.
“It’s just, basically, with Grant [Williams], with five guys at that spot and we’re going to play one of them most of the time.”