Celtics

Gordon Hayward suffers fracture in finger, will miss Hornets preseason game

Hayward broke his hand last year as well.

Gordon Hayward suffered yet another freak injury on Tuesday. AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Charlotte Hornets wing Gordon Hayward can’t find respite from freak injuries.

The former Boston Celtic suffered an avulsion fracture of his fifth metacarpal on his right hand in Tuesday’s preseason game against the Toronto Raptors, according to a release from the Hornets. Hayward will miss Thursday’s preseason game, but according to the team, he will be day-to-day moving forward.

That’s good news for the Hornets, who signed Hayward to a four-year, $120 million deal this offseason. Charlotte had a hole on the wing and a good relationship with Hayward after signing him to an offer sheet in 2014, which forced the Utah Jazz to match and pay him. The Indiana Pacers also hoped to acquire Hayward, and the Celtics hoped to retain him, but the Hornets overwhelmed both teams with their offer.

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Hayward had a history of freak injuries in Boston, which began just five minutes into his Celtics career — Hayward suffered a gruesome broken ankle trying to catch a lob in his first regular-season game of the 2017-18 season. That injury cost him the entire year, and he struggled to get his feet back under him in 2018-19 as well as a promising Celtics nucleus imploded. In 2019-20, Hayward started to play well once again, but he broke his left hand in a November game against the San Antonio Spurs, and then suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain in the first round of the playoffs after he returned.

In every case, there was little Hayward could have done to prevent the injury.

The Celtics expressed gratitude for Hayward’s time with the team after he left, despite all the misfortune that occurred.

“I’m grateful Gordon chose Boston [in 2017],” Ainge said earlier this month. “I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a good teammate, a good guy, a terrific player, and I’m grateful that Gordon missed the birth of his son and came to play and try to help us even though he was far less than 100 percent this year in the playoffs. He made sacrifices to try to give us a better chance of winning. It didn’t work out for our team, but I’m grateful that he gave that kind of effort and his family gave that kind of sacrifice. I wish Gordon nothing but the best and congratulate him on his new deal in Charlotte.”

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