The Boston Celtics have suffered a major blow at the start of the playoffs after their starting forward Gordon Hayward suffered a Grade 3 right a ankle sprain in a 109-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Hayward, who scored 12 points, had four rebounds and three assists in Game 1 against the 76ers, is expected to miss four weeks.
"I think we can certainly do a lot here but all that is stuff is to be determined," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of the adjustment the team will now have to make. "We haven't gotten into that stuff or that conversation.
"He's bummed, as you can imagine. [He's] put in a lot of time and effort, and you do so for this time, for the playoffs. That's what we all look forward to, and we've been really lucky thus far in the bubble to have good health and, of course, [after] Game 1 we don't.
"But that's part of it. We've lived this before and we're going to have to have other people step up. That's why you have a team."
But Celtics players confident they can do well even without Hayward
The Celtics have one of the deepest rotations in the NBA and the team's starting center Daniel Theis says everyone now needs to step up in the absence of Hayward.
"We have a deep rotation, a deep bench, so whoever is going to step up, we know we are going to trust our whole team," Theis said. "So guys are going to get their opportunities, get their minutes, and everybody has got to be ready."
Marcus Smart, who leads Celtics bench unit, is "confident" he and his teammates will deliver despite the absence of Hayward. "Tremendous confidence," Smart said of his belief in their ability to step up.
"We're doing everything we can as the older guys, the guys that's been here, to really get those guys ready on what to look for and what to expect when they get in the game. Just be ready and not get caught by surprise.
"The way they've been handling it, the way that they've been preparing has been very professional and we applaud them for it. We know they're not going to be perfect, just like we're not going to be perfect, but as long as we are on the same page and playing hard and communicating out there, we think we'll be all right."