Hayward injured his foot on a drive to the rim in the first half of Friday’s road victory over the Indiana Pacers. Based on video replay, he appeared to step on the foot of Pacers center Myles Turner, then slipped to the floor. Hayward, who grew up in Indiana, was having a big game prior to that injury, totaling 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 19 minutes.
With Hayward out, Hornets coach James Borrego started Miles Bridges at small forward in the second half and Bridges finished with a team-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Bridges has played primarily power forward as a reserve this season, but started last season at small forward before the Hornets acquired free agent Hayward.
Borrego said he’s comfortable starting Bridges at small forward if Hayward misses time. The complication, with LaMelo Ball (broken wrist) and Malik Monk (sprained ankle) already hurt, is the stress on Charlotte’s depth and scoring options.
Brad Wanamaker and Cody Martin picked up the bench minutes in the second half Friday, with Hayward out.
Sunday is the Hornets’ first game this season against the Celtics. Hayward opted out of the last year on his Celtics contract to become a free agent and eventually commit to a $120 million, 4-year deal with the Hornets. The Hornets and Celtics worked out a sign-and-trade for Hayward so that Boston could salvage a traded-player exception from losing Hayward.
Three Hornets — Terry Rozier, Hayward and Wanamaker — are all ex-Celtics. Boston has struggled this season, and at 24-25 trail the Hornets by 1 1/2 games in the Eastern Conference standings.