Celtics’ Hayward enters Game 3 in first quarteron September 19, 2020 at 7:26 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is active for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night vs. Miami Heat.

Hayward checked in with 5:06 left in the opening quarter.

Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters earlier Saturday that he anticipated Hayward would play but that Hayward would make the call after going through warm-ups.

“I anticipate he’ll be available, but that’s his call,” Stevens said.

In coming off the bench, Hayward’s minutes will be monitored, Stevens said.

Hayward has missed a month with a right ankle sprain but has progressed in recent days to the cusp of a return on Saturday, with the Celtics trailing the Heat 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

The Celtics upgraded his status to questionable for Game 3 on Friday.

Hayward has had an outstanding season for Boston — averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists — and his return would deliver some desperately needed firepower from the Boston bench. Hayward has shot 38% on 3-pointers this season and 50% from the floor.

Hayward, 30, suffered the ankle sprain in Game 1 of Boston’s first-round series against Philadelphia on Aug. 17 and left the Disney Wide World of Sports campus to rehab before recently returning.

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