Hayward, who signed a four-year, $120 million contract with the Hornets last month after spending the last three seasons with the Boston Celtics, sustained an avulsion fracture of the fifth metacarpal on his shooting hand, the team said. He injured the finger during Charlotte's 112-109 preseason loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday.
In a statement, the Hornets said Hayward's return will be based on pain tolerance and comfort level. He will miss Thursday's preseason game against the Orlando Magic and is listed as day-to-day moving forward.
Hayward suffered a gruesome foot and ankle injury in his first game with the Celtics during the 2017-18 campaign, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. He returned and played in 72 games in the 2018-19 season, but the All-Star forward often struggled.
The 30-year-old Hayward took a step forward and averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game last season, but he played in only 52 of the Celtics' 72 games due to a variety of injuries.
Hayward sustained a broken bone in his left hand in November 2019, then experienced nerve issues in his previously injured left foot the next month. He missed 12 of Boston's 17 playoff games inside the NBA bubble because of a right ankle sprain.
Hayward started both of the Hornets' preseason games against the Raptors, averaging 12.5 points. Charlotte is scheduled to open its regular season Dec. 23 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.