Celtics’ Hayward enters Game 3 in first quarter

NBA

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has been listed as active to face the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night.

Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters earlier Saturday that he anticipated Hayward playing but that Hayward would make the call after going through warm-ups.

“I anticipate he’ll be available, but that’s his call,” Stevens said.

If he plays, Hayward will come off the bench and his minutes will be monitored, Stevens said.

Hayward has missed a month with a right ankle sprain but has progressed in recent days to the cusp of a return on Saturday, with the Celtics trailing the Heat 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

The Celtics upgraded his status to questionable for Game 3 on Friday.

Hayward has had an outstanding season for Boston — averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists — and his return would deliver some desperately needed firepower from the Boston bench. Hayward has shot 38% on 3-pointers this season and 50% from the floor.

Hayward, 30, suffered the ankle sprain in Game 1 of Boston’s first-round series against Philadelphia on Aug. 17 and left the Disney Wide World of Sports campus to rehab before recently returning.

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