In the first game of the regular season against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Gordon Hayward broke his leg after an awkward landing after an alley-oop attempt. The injury effectively ended Hayward’s season before it began, and the Celtics will miss Hayward’s presence if they try to compete in the postseason. Nonetheless, the Celtics are ranked first in the Eastern Conference and are clearly one of the the leagues’ best teams. They have wins against the likes of the Cavaliers, Rockets, and the Warriors this season. That leaves a distinct question as to how the Celtics could improve with Hayward’s presence.
In any case, Hayward has already been ruled out for the entire regular season. However, he can technically return for the 2017-18 season, despite the Celtics’ disabled player exception, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
There is no rule that prevents Gordon Hayward from returning this season even with the Celtics using the DPE. A league designated physician made a ruling that Hayward would be out until June 15.
This report is no way a speculation that Hayward is going to return for the Celtics. It’s extremely unlikely that he does at this point. However, there is no rule restricting Hayward from re-joining the Celtics if they make a deep playoff push.
For now, the Celtics might have no intention of using Hayward this season. Though, if they make the NBA Finals, Hayward will be all healed up and ready to get back on the court, if the Celtics want him to. In the NBA, anything can happen. Therefore, this scenario is unlikely but very possible to the extent of the league’s rule.
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