Should Hornets fans be concerned about Hayward’s injury?

Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Gordon Hayward is once again dealing with an injury that has cost him the first three games of the Charlotte Hornets‘ preseason slate. In another unfortunate development for the veteran forward, it is fair to ask whether fans should already be concerned about Hayward’s availability this season.

Hayward’s latest injury is being described as a “knee contusion”, an injury he reportedly picked up during practice within the last week.

With this latest injury being a knee contusion, Hayward should not be in danger of missing extended time, but it proves yet again that he is not a dependable player when it comes to durability and availability.

Let us revisit Hayward’s string of injuries over the past several seasons.

– 2016: Broken Finger
– 2017: Fractured Tibia and Dislocated Ankle
– 2018: Ankle
– 2019: Broken Hand/ Concussion/ Nose
– 2020: Ankle Sprain/ Calf
– 2021: Hamstring, Back, and Hip
– 2022: Ankle Sprain

Of course, none of this is Hayward’s fault. This is simply an example of the unfortunate reality of playing a contact sport at the professional level.

During his seven seasons with the Utah Jazz, Hayward appeared in 516 of a possible 558 regular season games, which equates to a 94.47% availability rate. Hayward played all 66 games during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, and he never missed more than 10 games in a single season while with the Jazz.

His time with the Boston Celtics was a different story, as he played in just 125 of a possible 236 games, which equates to him having played in 52.97% of regular season games while with the Celtics.

While with the Charlotte Hornets, Hayward has played in 93 of a possible 154 regular season games, good for a 60.39% availability rate.

There is little question that Hayward is a valuable piece of this Hornets team. Look no further than Charlotte’s record with and without him; in the 93 games in which he has played, Charlotte is 50-43. In the 61 games that he has missed, Charlotte is 26-35.

Should Charlotte Hornets fans be concerned about Gordon Hayward’s injury?

The silver lining is that Hornets head coach Steve Clifford explained how the team is being “overly cautious” with Hayward during the preseason.

With his injury history and advancing age, this is a reasonable approach. While fans are justified in their concerns about Hayward’s health, it is a good sign that the team is taking a careful approach as they prepare to begin the regular season slate later this month.