The Boston Celtics received a boost to their depth with star forward Gordon Hayward returning to the lineup in their contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Hayward suffered a broken left hand in the Celtics win over the San Antonio Spurs back on Nov. 9., missing 13 games over a month's span.
It was an unlucky mishap for Hayward, who had looked like he was back in All-Star form after missing the entire 2017-18 season with a gruesome leg injury. He played a full season last year, where he slowly but surely made progress in getting comfortable on the court, then the one-time All-Star came out red hot to start this season.
Hayward was averaging 20.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists shooting 56.4% from the field and 44.4% from 3-point range before breaking his hand.
Boston were 7-1 at the time of the injury and went a favourable 9-4 in the absence of their starting forward.
In his first game back, Hayward made a seamless return to the starting lineup, recording 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, adding five rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes on court as the Celtics ran away with a 110-88 win over the Cavs.
Gordon ➡️ Grant ➡️ Gordon pic.twitter.com/wHoOjNTDlC- Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 10, 2019
Despite the long injury layoff, Hayward says he was happy with how his hand felt in his first game back.
"It got hit a little bit, I think it's going to continue to have to build some strength for sure and get some more motion in it, but I felt good about the first one," Hayward told NBC Sports Boston post-game.
"We had stretches tonight where we were really good, stretches where we were not very good but for me personally, just great to be back out on the floor and hopefully I can build off this one."
All five Celtics scored in double figures in the win, with Kemba Walker leading the way with 22 points, Jaylen Brown 20, Jayson Tatum 19 and Daniel Theis 10.
With the win, the Celtics extend their win streak to four games and now hold a 10-0 record at home this season.