Boston forward Gordon Hayward has decided to stay in the NBA's bubble at the Walt Disney World Complex in Orlando, Florida despite the impending birth of his fourth child.
Hayward initially planned to leave the NBA campus to be with his wife, Robyn, for the birth of their child, but he told reporters Saturday that they have decided against it.
"We discussed it and we prayed about it. I think it's probably best if I stay here and help our team," said Hayward, as quoted by USA Today.
Hayward had already left the NBA bubble to get treatment and therapy after spraining his right ankle in August, an injury sustained in their first round series against the Philadelphia 76ers. He wound up missing the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Toronto Raptors.
He returned in Game 3 of the East Finals, where Boston held on for a 117-106 win over the Miami Heat for their first win of the best-of-7 series. Hayward played 31 minutes, finishing with six points, five rebounds, and four assists off the bench.
On Instagram, his wife confirmed their decision for Hayward to stay with the Celtics.
"Gordon isn't going to leave the bubble for the birth so stop asking that too," Robyn said on her Instagram stories.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he respects Hayward's decision on the matter, whatever it is.
"If he wants to go back for the birth of his child, that takes priority. That's his decision and it's, you know, I want to leave it at that. That's his decision," he said.
Stevens gave Gordon passing marks for his performance in Game 3, though he acknowledged that he didn't expect to play his star forward so many minutes.
"I thought he looked pretty good," said Stevens. "I thought he did what he's done all year. He didn't shoot it quite as much. But he is a stabilizing force for our team. He just can make the right play and make a play for somebody else at the right time."
Jayson Tatum said having Hayward back "meant everything" to a Boston squad that had lost the first two games of the best-of-seven series.
"We're so much better when he's out there and obviously we're so much more dynamic, so much more versatile when he's out there. So, it felt great to have a full team back and he played great in his first game. He's going to continue to get better, get his skills back. So, to have him back, man, it was everything," he said.
Boston will now have three days off before playing Miami in Game 4, scheduled for Thursday morning, Manila time.