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Marcus Smart ruled out vs. Cavaliers, no minute restriction for Gordon Hayward

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Even with Gordon Hayward back, the C’s still aren’t completely healthy.

Denver Nuggets v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The early return of Gordon Hayward is a welcome sight for the Boston Celtics, but the C’s still won’t be at full strength when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night.

The C’s will be without the services of guard Marcus Smart against the Cavs due to a left eye infection. Smart, who played in the team’s first 19 games, has now missed two of the last three contests. Smart sat out last Wednesday’s matchup with the Miami Heat with an oblique contusion.

Boston also won’t have center Robert Williams available due to a sore left hip while Romeo Langford also remains out due to a right ankle sprain he suffered recently while playing for the Maine Red Claws.

All eyes will certainly be on Hayward, though, against a Cleveland squad that posts a putrid 5-17 record and is second to last place in the Eastern Conference. Hayward will play for the first time since fracturing his left hand on Nov. 9 versus the San Antonio Spurs and having surgery to repair the break days later.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said there is no minute restriction for Hayward, but the coaching staff will monitor his time on the court. Hayward missed the last 13 games due to the injury and his return is ahead of schedule as it was once thought he would be back for the C’s closer to Christmas.

Hayward is expected to start tonight as well and is averaging 18.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in the eight games he played in before the injury.