Agent: Gordon Hayward Unlikely To Return This Season

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward underwent surgery on Wednesday night to repair a dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia, and while that surgery was deemed successful, agent Mark Bartelstein tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that his client is unlikely to return to the court this season.

Although Bartelstein isn’t expecting Hayward to be back during the 2017/18 campaign, he remains confident in the 27-year-old’s long-term prognosis, suggesting to Wojnarowski that the injury isn’t career-threatening.

“We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form,” Bartelstein said.

With Hayward likely to miss the entire season, the Celtics will be eligible to apply for a disabled player exception to help replace their star forward, and the league should grant that exception at some point. The DPE would give Boston the opportunity to sign, claim, or trade for a player earning up to $8.406MM. If the C’s were to use the exception to trade for someone, that player would need to be in the final year of his contract.

While there’s no guarantee that the C’s will make use of that disabled player exception right away, the team does have an open spot on its 15-man roster, and head coach Brad Stevens indicated on Wednesday that there’s a decent chance the club will fill it, as Wojnarowski details. In the meantime, Boston made two-way player Jabari Bird active on Wednesday to help add some depth, and the game won’t count as one of Bird’s 45 NBA days, since that clock doesn’t start until G League training camps do.

Assuming Hayward misses the season, the Celtics would be able to recoup up to about $7.2MM of his $29.73MM+ salary via insurance, ESPN’s report notes.

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