Gordon Hayward started the 2017-18 NBA season on the wrong foot, falling to a broken leg and dislocated ankle. The horrific sight is something no fan or player wants to see, and the immediate belief is that the 27-year-old is done for the season. Or is he?

The initial report that came out was that Hayward is unlikely to return this season. He underwent successful surgery, and now Hayward will have to work his way back to playing shape.

Will Hayward return this season?

Mark Bartelstein, Hayward’s agent, initially said that his client is unlikely to return this season.

However, Mike Lynch of WCVB reveals that new information that there is a chance that the Celtics star could return by March as the best case scenario.

As NBC Sports pointed out, there are unknowns and probabilities to consider. It also calls to mind the case of Paul George. The Oklahoma City Thunder star broke his leg back in 2014 during a US national team intrasquad scrimmage in Las Vegas. Somehow, George was able to return later that season although all of it was done for him to get back into the groove of things.

There are several things to consider in the case of Hayward. He suffered the injury just this October while George broke his leg during the month of August. Doing the math, it took PG13 roughly seven months before he could play basketball once more. In the case of Hayward, a potential March return would only be five months.

Aside from that, there is the actual injury to consider. While both suffered from fairly similar broken legs, the case and surgery performed are likely different. There is also the healing factor both have, obviously different.

Hayward knows best

The best person to decide on his fate would be Hayward himself. It is his body, and only he can decide if he can return to action – early or for long.

Also, Hayward may return but be ineffective. He is likely to play cautiously with the memory of that accident still fresh. His game will not be the same and Hayward could end up being a liability for the Celtics.

Boston Celtics may lose disabled-player exception

For the Celtics, there is another risk to worry about. If Hayward is able to return, it may deprive them of the disabled-player exception worth $8,406,000. The assessment will be done by a league-appointed physician after an evaluation is done on Hayward.

In any case, the Celtics need to be careful. Hayward is an investment and rushing him back may backfire. According to Spotrac, the 27-year-old is in the first year of his four-year contract worth $127 million. Team President Danny Ainge is likely to think long-term, meaning it would be best to see Hayward nurse his way back to full health.