* UPDATE (7:58 p.m. ET.): Gordon Hayward is available off the bench for the Boston Celtics in Game 3 vs. the Miami Heat, the team has announced.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Boston Celtics may be getting a big boost on Saturday night as they aim to earn a crucial victory in their conference finals series vs. the Miami Heat.
There is "significant optimism" within the C's organization Gordon Hayward will return from his ankle injury for Game 3, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Hayward has been sidelined since he suffered the injury in Game 1 of Boston's first-round series vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.
Assuming Hayward is at full strength, his presence could be a difference-maker for the Celtics as they aim to climb out of their 2-0 series deficit.
Hayward averaged 22 points per game against the Heat during the regular season, the second-highest total on the C's behind only Jaylen Brown (24.7).
Tip-off for Game 3 is set for 8:30 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune in to Celtics Pregame Live on NBC Sports Boston at 7:30 p.m., and Celtics Postgame Live immediately after the final buzzer.