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Gordon Hayward On Ankle Injury: 'It's Definitely Gutting'

BOSTON (CBS) -- A dejected Gordon Hayward held court with reporters on Thursday in Orlando, disappointed that it will be the only court he sees for the foreseeable future. Hayward is sidelined for the next four weeks with a Grade 3 ankle sprain that he suffered in Boston's Game 1 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, and he is very clearly bummed that he'll have to watch much of Boston's playoff run from afar.

"It's definitely gutting and it sucks," said Hayward, balancing on his crutches as he sat for his Zoom session. "There's nothing else to say about it. It's definitely frustrating. It doesn't feel great at the moment. Just trying to get better as soon as I can."

Hayward said he knew as soon as he came down on teammate Daniel Theis' foot that it was a serious injury, and not just a casual ankle roll. His ankle was swollen by the time he left the court.

As for the road ahead, Hayward is going to attack his rehab as soon as possible. But he isn't sure when he'll be back in the Boston lineup.

"It's kind of up in the air. It's how my body responds to the rehab, so it's hard to say," he said. "No one knows really."

Hayward will remain in the Orlando bubble throughout the rehab process.

"Maybe I can use some Disney magic to make me feel better," he joked.

Of course, Hayward has been here before. He suffered a gruesome broken ankle in his first game as a Celtic nearly three years ago, costing him the 2017-18 season. This injury isn't as severe as that one, but Hayward knows what lies ahead.

"The mental side of rehab is by far tougher than the physical," he said. "I think having good people around you is very key. It's very important, and I definitely have that."

Hayward had his best season with the Celtics during the regular season, hitting 50 percent of his shots and averaging 17.5 points and a career-high 6.7 rebounds. Boston is currently up 2-0 on the 76ers in their first-round matchup, with Game 3 set for Friday night.

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