Celtics' Hayward excited after returning to game action

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Gordon Hayward made his long-awaited return to game action Friday night and despite coming out on the short end on the scoreboard, he termed it a victory.

Hayward scored 10 points, shooting 2 of 7 from the field in 23 minutes in a 104-97 loss to the Charlotte Hornets in game played at the Dean E. Smith Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.

It was the first time in a game since Oct. 17, when he broke the fibula and dislocated the ankle of his left leg five minutes into the 2017-18 season-opening game against Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena.

“Been waiting a long time to lace back up and get out there with the guys,” Hayward said, according to the Associated Press.

"Definitely good to get that one out of the way," Hayward said. "Didn't feel like I played my best basketball, but I was having fun out there and it was good to be back with the guys. Definitely had some good moments, some bad ones."