5:17pm: Surgery is an option for Hayward, but no decision has been made yet, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune reports in a series of tweets. Jones also adds that it’s Hayward’s left ring finger which is injured. The injury occurred when he got his hand caught inside a teammate’s jersey.
4:37pm: Gordon Hayward has suffered a finger injury expected to keep him out of action for a little while, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com, who tweets that Hayward dislocated a finger on his left hand. Jody Genessy of The Deseret News adds some more details, reporting (via Twitter) that Hayward’s finger is broken in addition to being dislocated. Per Genessy, the Jazz forward is expected to miss six weeks and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
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The injury is an unfortunate setback for Hayward and the Jazz, who have been viewed as a candidate to take a major step forward in 2016/17. While Utah didn’t make a huge splash in free agency this summer, the team added some veteran help by signing Joe Johnson and trading for George Hill and Boris Diaw. With the newcomers expected to complement an improving young core that includes Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum, and others, the Jazz are widely viewed as a good bet to make the playoffs in the West.
Hayward’s injury shouldn’t seriously impact the Jazz’s odds of making the postseason, but if he’s sidelined for six weeks, he’ll miss some regular-season action. If Hayward is able to return to the court for the team exactly six weeks from today, he’d be back for Utah’s 14th game of the season.
A former ninth overall pick, Hayward was the Jazz’s leading scorer last season, setting a new career high with 19.7 PPG. The 26-year-old also chipped in 5.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, and 1.2 SPG, while making 1.8 three-pointers per contest.