Hayward missed nearly the entire season after breaking his leg in the first quarter of the season opener.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge explained Irving's surprising absence from the Celtics' 87-79 Game 7 loss to the Cavaliers, saying the injured guard missed the tilt because he had deviated septum surgery.
The Boston Celtics guard went 1-of-10 from the field, including 0-for-4 from 3-point range in an elimination game.
Ainge is correct: The Celtics are much, much better with Kyrie and Irving.
The Boston Celtics' recent playoff run certainly was a fascinating one, but with that came a trip to fantasyland for a pocket of fans. I've been here for four years.
"He obviously exceeded everyone's expectations with the opportunities with Gordon's injury", Ainge said, "but I think he's just scratching the surface". "He's on the court now, finally doing a little bit of competition, like just one-on-one".
In an ideal world, Marcus Smart expects a small scale version of Isaiah Thomas' mythical Brinks truck to arrive when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer. I personally think this will be a seven-game series for these two talented teams.
"It doesn't bother me at all", Ainge said. As he said early in the interview, he didn't expect to bring in 11 new players at the start of last summer, either.
Kyrie Irving wasn't just missing from the Celtics bench Sunday night - he wasn't even at the game. The injury occurred in November when he was hit in the face by teammate Aron Baynes. Ainge said Irving wasn't there because he underwent surgery to fix a deviated septum. Irving wore a mask while healing from the facial fracture.
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