Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has entered the NBA’s concussion protocol and is doubtful for Monday’s game against the Nuggets, the team announced.
#NEBHInjuryReport for tomorrow vs Denver:
Gordon Hayward (NBA Concussion Protocol) DOUBTFUL
Al Horford (Left Knee Soreness) – PROBABLE
Robert Williams (Illness) – QUESTIONABLE
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 17, 2019
Hayward was injured Saturday against the Hawks after running into a screen set by Hawks forward John Collins only a minute after checking in to the game in the first quarter.
Hayward made contact with Collins’ shoulder and was visibly shaken. He went to the locker room for further evaluation, and the team later described his injury as a “strained neck” that kept him out of the remainder of the game.
Hayward looked groggy coming off the floor, and coach Brad Stevens described him as “woozy” in his post-game comments (per MassLive.com).
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 16, 2019
It’s not clear how long Hayward will be sidelined. The NBA’s protocol is a multi-step process that compares the injured player’s current status with a baseline neurological scan taken before the season.
Hayward, 28, has averaged 11 points with 4.3 rebounds this season while shooting 44.8 percent from the field as he has gradually worked his way back to full health and productivity from the season-ending broken ankle he suffered in the Celtics’ opener in 2017-18.
He has been relatively healthy this season, appearing in 64 of Boston’s 70 games, though he missed some time with ankle issues.
The Celtics (43-27) enter Monday’s game against the Nuggets (46-22) in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, a game back of the fourth-place Pacers and two games behind the third-place 76ers.