With the Hornets in the midst of a battle for play-in positioning, veteran forward Gordon Hayward is poised to make his return from an ankle injury that has sidelined him for nearly two months, writes Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer.
According to Boone, Hayward has been listed as probable for Saturday’s game in Philadelphia vs. the 76ers and will be available for the Hornets.
Hayward, who last played on February 7, has missed Charlotte’s last 22 games after spraining ligaments in his left ankle. Prior to the injury, he has been his usual productive self, averaging 16.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 3.6 APG on .460/.390/.846 shooting in 48 appearances (32.2 MPG).
The Hornets have held their own without Hayward and have been particularly hot as of late, winning eight of their last 10 games to pull in a three-way tie with Brooklyn and Atlanta for the East’s No. 8 seed. Claiming that spot in the standings would put Charlotte in a stronger position to a earn a playoff spot in the play-in tournament, but it won’t be easy — both the Nets and Hawks have more favorable schedules over the next 10 days, per Tankathon.
After playing in Philadelphia on Saturday, the Hornets will head to Miami to face the Heat on Tuesday. Their regular season schedule will conclude with a a visit to Chicago on April 8, sandwiched by a pair of favorable home matchups vs. Orlando (April 7) and Washington (April 10).