By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Gordon Hayward suffered another bummer of an injury last Saturday against the Spurs. But a broken non-shooting hand and a six-week recovery time is a cakewalk compared to what he went through over his first two seasons with the Celtics.
President of basketball ops Danny Ainge echoed that sentiment in his weekly interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich on Thursday, acknowledging that Hayward's injury is about as easy as it can get for a broken hand. It helps that he injured his left hand and not his main shooting hand.
"I think it's going to be much easier with his non-shooting hand than his shooting hand," Ainge said. "Gordon does use his left, likes to dribble with his left, but he's a dominant right-handed finisher. So I think that that's much better than having his left hand be the one that got hurt instead of his right."
Ainge said Hayward will be able to work on an exercise bike as soon as Friday to keep his legs fresh, then run and dribble with his right hand by Monday or Tuesday of next week. So he shouldn't have much trouble getting right back into game action once his non-shooting hand is fully healed.
It's still unfortunate that Hayward still has to miss six weeks after getting off to such a strong start in 2019-20. Hayward averaged 21.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists on 55.5 percent shooting per 36 minutes over his first eight games. But Ainge spun the injury as an opportunity for other players to step into bigger roles - which he admits was a chance he relished when his Celtics teams had to play without Larry Bird.
"Now I always, of course, wanted Larry on my team whenever we were playing in the playoffs. But, you know, there are those games where, 'OK, I'm gonna get some more shots up today and get an opportunity to do a lot more,'" said Ainge. "And, you know, and I think that that's a good opportunity for the guys on our team right now."
Listen below for the full interview with Ainge. The Hayward questions begin at the 16:14 mark.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].