Gordon Hayward Rumors

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#20
Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward
Position: F
Born: 03/23/90
Height: 6-8 / 2.03
Weight:207 lbs. / 93.9 kg.
Salary: $29,727,900
Gordon Hayward on Al Horford: “He can have the quietest game and then in the fourth he’ll hit like two threes and end up with 17, 9, and 6 on, like, 8-of-12 shooting. It’s just crazy. And then he does so many other things that don’t even get on the stat sheet. He’s definitely super-important because he’s playmaking for us. If I could say one thing the young guys need to work on, it’s, like, they’re so good getting to the rim, but that next step is reading the defense and playmaking. So knowing, ‘All right, I’ve got three guys here, let me kick it out to somebody.’ So Al becomes a huge playmaker for us, whether in the post or at the top of the key. Along with all the defensive stuff he does, switching out, guarding some of the quicker guards for a possession.”
Gordon Hayward on Brad Stevens, his former college coach: “Brad’s whole career has basically taken situations where it’s like, ‘He’s not going to do that well because of this or that,’ and then he somehow finds a way to do way better than people expected. This is just another one of those scenarios. He’s just a master at putting guys in the right positions. Like, if somebody’s not good at coming off pick-and-rolls, don’t have them come off pick-and-rolls. That sounds simple, but he’s really good at it. If we have somebody that’s a really good cutter, put him in a play where they cut to the rim, and they’re not going to be able to guard that.”
More than 50 days have passed since Hayward suffered his grisly injury, and on this night there are few obvious signs that it happened at all. His cast was replaced by a walking boot after two weeks, and now the walking boot is gradually being phased out in favor of a small, nonintrusive brace, which he is wearing now. Last week, he was told he did not need crutches anymore. On the court, he can now stand still and shoot baskets, a major step after weeks of firing them from a padded chair. As the Celtics stormed to a 22-5 start, it became tantalizing to wonder what they might be with Hayward. And given his consistent progress, and the fact that more than four months remain in the regular season, it is impossible not to wonder if there is a chance, however slim it might be, that he could be back this year.
Storyline: Gordon Hayward Injury
Hayward admits that he thinks about it, too. But he immediately cautions that there can be dangers in looking far ahead. He has made this progress by tackling obstacles one by one, and he knows the last, most massive one remains distant. But yes, of course he is aware of it. Of course he would like to play for the Celtics this season. “It’s definitely in the back of my mind,” Hayward said. “I’m definitely pushing to get back as fast as I can, while making sure that I still have a lot of good years of basketball in me. And coming back early and hurting something else is not part of that plan. So I’m making sure that if I come back, I’m one-thousand percent confident in myself and my leg. I hope more than anything I can play this season. That would be awesome. But that’s not something I’m stressing about. I’m stressing about what I can do today to help myself get better.”
His return date, of course, remains unclear. The Celtics have been cautious, consistently saying they do not expect Hayward back this season. Hayward does not expect it, either. He does not like to think that far ahead. But he is also an undeniably fierce competitor, and there is no better motivator at the end of this long, trying journey than playing in an NBA game again. “I feel like for me it’s better to just tell myself, ‘Let’s be better today than I was yesterday,’ and then keep doing that day in and day out,” Hayward said. “And if it happens to get to the point where the season’s still going on and I can play, then, like, that’s awesome.”