NBA: Playoffs-Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics

Gordon Hayward cleared quarantine and has the green light to begin his return to the Boston Celtics.

The forward can work with team trainers. He began by shedding a protective boot and walking in grass without shoes to strengthen his ankle.

Hayward has been sidelined since the first game of the 2020 NBA playoffs on Aug. 17.

Coach Brad Stevens said Saturday that Hayward was back in the NBA bubble but won’t be ready for competition “anytime soon.”

Boston entered Wednesday’s Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 3-2 lead over the Toronto Raptors.

Hayward, 30, sustained a Grade III sprain of his ankle while attempting to box out Joel Embiid during Boston’s 109-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.

After Hayward jumped for the rebound, he appeared to land on the foot of teammate Daniel Theis. At the time, it was expected Hayward would miss about four weeks.

His availability for potential games in the conference finals or NBA Finals has not been determined. He averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists this season.

(Field Level Media)