Ahead of Saturday's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics have "significant optimism" that Gordon Hayward will return to the lineup to face the Heat, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Hayward has missed one month after suffering a Grade 3 ankle sprain at the start of Boston's first-round series against the 76ers. The 30-year-old, who was expected to miss four weeks, appears to be ready to return. According to Wojnarowski, Hayward could be active for Saturday's game as long as he feels fine in pregame warmups.
On Friday, the Celtics upgraded Hayward's status to questionable for Game 3.
Following his injury, Hayward left the NBA bubble in Orlando to rehab, but has recently returned to join the Celtics.
Hayward has battled injuries during his tenure in Boston after suffering a terrible leg and ankle injury in his first Celtics game in 2017, which forced him to miss the rest of that season. This year, he has been instrumental for the team while averaging 17.5 points and 6.7 rebounds and shooting 50% from the field.