Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The Boston Celtics will be without Gordon Hayward until at least the Eastern Conference finals after the All-Star forward suffered a sprained right ankle in Monday's series opener against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The team announced Tuesday that Hayward was diagnosed with a Grade 3 right ankle sprain. He is expected to miss at least four weeks, meaning the Celtics would likely need to reach the conference finals before he is able to return.
"Really tough for him. Obviously tough for us," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Tuesday. "He's had a heck of a season and played well here. ... I feel for him, more than anything else, and it's our job to make up for all of the great things that he does by committee, and we'll attempt to do so."
Hayward, who is averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this season, suffered the injury late in the fourth quarter of the Celtics' Game 1 win over the Sixers. He twisted his ankle while attempting to grab a rebound over 76ers big man Joel Embiid.
The Celtics are expected to slot Marcus Smart into the starting lineup in Hayward's absence.
The Celtics and the 76ers continue their first-round playoff series Wednesday.