The Celtics will be without one of their normal starters for the rest of their first-round series against the Sixers. Gordon Hayward will miss about four weeks with a Grade III right ankle sprain, the team announced Tuesday.
Hayward sustained the injury during the fourth quarter of Boston's 109-101 Game 1 win. He had 12 points, four rebounds and four steals on Monday night.
The injury is a significant blow for Boston. The 30-year-old averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists this season and was one the team's four perimeter threats in the starting five, along with Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He'd been the primary defender on Tobias Harris.
With Hayward out, Marcus Smart would be a logical candidate to step into the starting lineup. The 6-foot-3 Smart is a tenacious, high-quality defender and averaged a career-best 12.9 points per game this year on 34.7 percent three-point shooting, but he doesn't offer as much as Hayward offensively.
The Celtics have a relatively short rotation. While Smart played 31:54 in Game 1, no other reserve played more than backup center Robert Williams' 12:35. We could see third-year forward Semi Ojeleye or rookie Grant Williams side into a larger role in Boston's rotation.
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