Boston’s Gordon Hayward and his wife are expecting their fourth child, and he plans to be there, even if it means leaving the NBA bubble in Florida. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

 

As the Boston Celtics and other NBA teams get ready to enter the bubble in Florida, Gordon Hayward’s wife, Robyn, is pregnant with their fourth child and Gordon says he’s going to be there.

The Celtics forward, who has three girls and is expecting a boy in September, said he might need to leave the bubble.

“It’s a pretty easy decision for me on that,” he said during a video conference with reporters on Friday. “I’ve been at the birth of every one of my children and I think there are more important things in life. So we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

At Disney, preparations continue for the arrivals that start on Tuesday. Practice courts have been put into place in what typically are hotel ballrooms. The arenas that will play host to games are being set up for NBA needs, and some staff were getting set to arrive to begin their quarantines.

Under the NBA protocol, a player leaving the Orlando bubble would only have to quarantine for as few as four days as long as he tests negative for all four days in isolation. In a best-case scenario, Hayward would miss however many days he was gone for his child’s birth, plus four days in isolation upon his return.

While this decision is an easy one for Hayward, the decision to go to Orlando hasn’t been. He’s preparing for what is, in essence, the longest road trip of his life while his pregnant wife is caring for three young girls.

“Although we are on the road a lot during the year, you do get time to come home,” Hayward said. “Maybe maximum eight, nine, ten days on the road before you’re home. And so being gone for a lot longer certainly is going to be tough. It’s going to be hard. There’s no doubt about it. I think leaving the girlies is gonna be really hard and for sure a sad day for me.”

One other concern for Hayward: dealing with soreness and nerve issues in his left foot. According to Hayward, those injuries are yet to resolve themselves despite all of the time he was able to spend off his feet since March 11.

“I wish that I had an answer to why it is a little sore,” Hayward said Friday. “I think a lot of it relates to just the injury that I had. I’ve been training pretty much this whole time. Not full go obviously, since I haven’t had a court the whole time, but I have been trying to stay fit. I’ve been resting but at the same time not resting. Kind of like a maintenance type thing. Everything is definitely a lot better, there is no doubt about that. For sure, I’m feeling great, it’s just the foot still is a little sore. It is what it is.”

Hayward referenced his traumatic ankle injury on opening night of the 2017-18 season that ended his season and still affected him during the 2018-19 campaign. Hayward has come back, averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, but the journey back to full health was a struggle.

“I for sure hit a low during my injury and had to work more than ever on that mental side, more than I ever had in my basketball career on that mental side,” Hayward said. “That for sure is something that takes work and it’s a topic that is starting to come up more and more these days. But it’s certainly one that is real. I think it’s difficult when you’re in certain situations. So for sure, the mental side is where I’ve grown.”

Still, the Celtics will be grateful for whatever Hayward can give them in Orlando. On Friday, he was asked to reflect on his time in Boston to date – three turbulent years that encompassed the birth of his third daughter, a tumultuous 2018-19 season and one of the worst NBA injuries of the last decade.

“I cherish every moment I get to play there, especially after going through the injury,” Hayward said. “I haven’t thought about the future, honestly. Every day I’ve been trying to find out information about what’s going to happen with the season more than anything and then trying to stay fit, stay ready. It’s been an unbelievable three years here. Like I said, I had a child here. I’ll never forget that. It’s been some great moments, for sure. Obviously, some not great moments with the injury and everything, but some big moments and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”


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