Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward will miss at least the next four weeks with a sprained right foot, the team announced Saturday.
Hayward, who signed a four-year, $ 120 million deal to join Charlotte as a free agent in November, was set to return to Boston for the first time since leaving the Celtics in the offseason before sustaining the injury during the 114. – 97 win at Indiana.
It will be reevaluated in about four weeks, the team said.
Taking on a bigger role in Charlotte than in Boston, Hayward has stood out for the Hornets this season, averaging 19.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 41.5% from range 3. points.
The Hornets, who no longer have star rookie LaMelo Ball, who is out indefinitely with a broken wrist, have been one of the league’s biggest upsets this season. Heading into Sunday’s game in Boston, Charlotte is two games over .500 and fourth in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets enter Saturday night action projected by ESPN’s Basketball Power Index to finish sixth in the East, allowing them to avoid the play-in tournament and reach the playoffs for the first time since losing in seven. games against the Miami Heat in the first. 2016 playoff round.
Since returning to the league as an expansion team for the 2004-05 season, Charlotte has made the playoffs only three times and has yet to advance from the first round.
The Hornets are 1-3 in the four games Hayward has missed this season (24-20 with him), allowing 9.5 more points per game than when Hayward plays, according to ESPN Stats & Information data.