Before the NBA restarted the season in July, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward told the team he planned to leave the bubble near Orlando for the birth of his fourth child.
But between the Celtics being in a battle with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and the time he already spent away from the team to treat a sprained ankle, Hayward has had a change of heart.
Instead, he said after the Celtics’ 117-106 win in Game 3 of the series Saturday night that he and his wife, Robyn, decided he should remain in Florida and not leave for the imminent birth of the baby.
“Robyn could be having a baby at any point in time,” Hayward said. “It’s probably something I’ll be here. By the time I get back, I might miss the birth if she goes in and she rushes to the hospital. We discussed it and we prayed about it. I think it’s probably best if I stay here and help our team.”
Hayward, 30, sustained a Grade III sprain of his ankle on Aug. 17 during Boston’s 109-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series. He made his return Saturday night and scored six points in 31 minutes.
The Celtics trail the Heat 2-1, and Jayson Tatum said the team got a needed jolt from Hayward’s return.
“It meant everything,” Tatum said. “It’s crazy that anybody would think we would be better without him. We’re so much better when he’s out there and obviously we’re so much more dynamic, so much more versatile when he’s out there.”
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