Hayward has in fact been playing for the Celtics all season. But there’s a difference between being back and being back. And that difference, more than anything else, explains why the Celtics enter Saturday’s game mired in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, having so far failed to live up to their lofty preseason expectations. “I think with each month I feel more comfortable,” Hayward told ESPN last week. “Sometimes, I need to remind myself it’s good to even be out there, and to try to find the joy in just playing, [and] not get frustrated if things aren’t going exactly how I want them to.”
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Scott Souza: #Celtics coach Brad Stevens confirms both Jaylen Brown & Gordon Hayward (both sick) are back tonight. Aron Baynes starts for Al Horford (knee). Brown & Hayward remain off bench.
Abby Chin: Gordon Hayward officially not sick any more and will play tonight according to his Insta. #Celtics pic.twitter.com/YOl8bruQ9n
Tom Westerholm: The Celtics’ injury report for Washington includes Baynes and Horford (both questionable) and Hayward (doubtful with his illness). No Kyrie, however, which is a good sign.
Tom Westerholm: No Al Horford and no Gordon Hayward tonight, per the Celtics.
Chris Forsberg: Celtics list Jaylen Brown (Right Low Back Bruise) as doubtful vs New Orleans. Terry Rozier (Left Knee Soreness) is probable. Gordon Hayward off the injury list and should be back after sitting out the second night of a back to back.
Tim Bontemps: Stevens downplayed any long-term issues with Hayward’s ankle. Hayward is currently in the hallway outside Boston’s locker room doing some exercises. Appears to be a maintenance situation.
Tom Westerholm: Lengthy injury list for the Celtics tonight, which includes Gordon Hayward (out with ankle soreness) and Terry Rozier (questionable with knee soreness). Looks like Al Horford is good to go.
Scott Souza: #Celtics Brad Stevens: Gordon Hayward will play tonight, still on minute restriction. Hayward will start.
Chris Forsberg: Brad Stevens says it’s just general soreness for Gordon Hayward. Aron Baynes starts.
Hayward still believes he can lift his game to a new level. He still aims to deliver titles and maximize his individual potential, but when he speaks about what he ultimately wants to accomplish, he lists skills rather than accolades. He wants to sharpen his decision-making in pick-and-rolls and dribble handoffs. He believes he can see the floor better, inflict more punishment on smaller defenders, and take advantage of all the space the Celtics’ style should afford. Hayward wants to avoid focusing on All-Star berths. This season, after all the anguish, and monotonous rehab, Hayward’s priority is to stay on the court. “Get through this year healthy,” he said of his priorities during a phone interview this week.
“Play in each and every game like it could be my last game. I think with the injury it’s kind of given me some perspective. So I do think that I can still be a better player (than I was), and I do still think that there’s so much more that I can get out of myself.
Gordon Hayward says he is managing back soreness that was getting “progressively worse” as the Boston Celtics forward prepared for the regular-season opener next week. Hayward, who did not play in Saturday’s preseason finale against the Cleveland Cavaliers, told reporters Wednesday that his back has bothered him in the past but that he would typically recover quickly. This time, the soreness lingered, Hayward said.
“That’s what made me feel like I needed to dial it back a little bit,” Hayward said. “In the past, it’s bothered me but always calmed down and was fine with treatments and stuff. But this time it was getting worse, especially after playing.”
Hayward had just started to run full speed and play one-on-one in late May, when doctors concluded it was best to remove the plate and screws. Hayward had been feeling pain around his ankle for months. He agitated for the surgery earlier, fearing an operation in May or June would sabotage his summer. “Hindsight is 20/20,” he says, “but I wish we had knocked this out in March.” Doctors and Celtics officials cautioned that no one should undergo a second operation if they don’t absolutely have to, Hayward recalls. They needed to determine if something other than the plate — some issue that would go away — was causing the irritation. That process took time. “I was miserable,” Hayward says. “To go back into a walking boot after all that progress — back on crutches. That was my lowest moment.”
People close to him have long known to expect calls from a despondent Hayward after so-so games. Hayward has trouble sleeping on those nights, he says. Friends hoped the year away would change that. He would miss the game, rediscover the joy of it, fixate less on mistakes. Perhaps the Celtics’ success without him would ease Hayward’s self-imposed pressure upon his return.
Brian Robb: Gordon Hayward did not practice with lower back issue. Will not travel to Cleveland. Minor issue according to Stevens.
A. Sherrod Blakely: Irving, Hayward, Brown, Tatum and Horford will start for the #Celtics tonight.
Gordon Hayward: Been waiting a long time to lace back up and get out there with the guys. Tonight, finally! #CUsRise
Scott Souza: #Celtics Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward: He looks fine. I am sure there will be moments when he’ll be sore. There will be moments when he’s trying to regain his rhythm and playing. But just from the naked eye watching, untrained medical eye of mine, he looks like himself.
Scott Souza: #Celtics Gordon Hayward said he plans to play in preseason opener.
Jay King: Gordon Hayward said he felt “really good” back out on the court. His body held up through the first set of two-a-days.
Gordon Hayward: I can say proudly that I haven’t missed a single day of rehab since I got hurt. From the little things back when the injury first occurred, through the setback with having a second surgery to have my hardware removed this spring, right down to every three-on-three and five-on-five over the past several weeks, I’ve shown up and put in the work to get back to this point. I’m extremely proud of that.
Gordon Hayward: Physically, from what I am told, the last thing to come is that explosion off my left foot. Being able to push off that left when I’m going right, when I’m going to the rim off of one foot, being able to just confidently jump off of it and finish at the rim, whether that’s a dunk, or a layup, or whatever—that is the last piece. I feel like I can do that off my right, but not necessarily off my left yet. That will come with time and repetition, just like everything else.
Brian Robb: Gordon Hayward says he has not watched the video of his injury and won’t do so in the future: “I haven’t watched it…I don’t plan on watching the video. I’m moving forward and past it.”
Scott Souza: #Celtics Gordon Hayward: I’m basically 100 percent … for the most part I feel pretty good.
Jay King: Gordon Hayward said he’s feeling really good and has been playing 5-on-5 for a couple of weeks. “It’s so much fun to be able to play again.”
Scott Souza: #Celtics Gordon Hayward said he’s looking forward to playing in preseason games & intends to be on floor in season opener at TD Garden.
Adam Kauffman: The #Celtics announced Gordon Hayward will meet with the media tomorrow at 1:30. Time for a health update. The expectation: He’s ready to go.
Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving and small forward Gordon Hayward “look impressive” in the pickup games they have played at the practice facility in advance of training camp, a league source told Amico Hoops on Friday. Irving underwent season-ending knee surgery in April, while Hayward suffered a fractured left ankle in the Celtics’ season-opening loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 17, 2017. Both players have been taking part in full speed training for almost a month. Hayward is expected to be cleared for five-on-five play next week, sources said.
A. Sherrod Blakely: The #Celtics Daniel Theis said Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward both “look good” in games played at the team’s practice facility recently.
Nicole Yang: Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward: “He’ll be cleared to go for some 5-on-5 here very, very, very soon, like *glances at wrist* any time soon.”
On Tuesday, a Reddit user posted a picture of Boston Celtics All-Star small forward Gordon Hayward training with Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz, the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, at basketball trainer Drew Hanlen’s facility.
Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will return to Boston next week and are expected to join their teammates in informal workouts as Celtics players begin pickup play in advance of the start of training camp in late September.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told ESPN on Monday that both Irving (knee) and Hayward (ankle) appear at full health and are ready for the new season. “I don’t want to hype it up too much, but I’m saying that, if our training camp were starting today, that they would be here today going full speed,” Ainge said. “It’s not like they need an extra month. I think that they know they have an extra month so they are sort of pacing themselves. They’re playing as if to build up to that opening day of training camp [on Sept. 26].”
“They’ll both be here within the next week or so, by the time Labor Day is over, they will all be playing 5-on-5,” Ainge said. “I think it’s just a matter of, if they’re not playing 5-on-5 now, then it’s only because they want it more of a controlled environment, I guess. They’re doing everything — dunking the basketball off both legs and playing 1-on-1 live and jumping and cutting and defending. I’m excited for them.”
Yeah this looks like the @gordonhayward we remember #comingsoon 🎬🎟️
The Render NBA: First video of Gordon Hayward dunking since his injury
Fred Katz: Brad Stevens told @Chris Mannix that Hayward and Kyrie are both on schedule: “I think [Hayward] and Kyrie will be fully cleared by the time training camp starts and probably well before.”
You’re helping Gordon Hayward as he comes back from that devastating injury that he sustained in the first game of last season. How is Gordon looking and what’s the latest on his recovery? Drew Hanlen: He’s doing really well. He’s up to full-speed workouts now, so he’s able to cut and play and do everything; there are no limitations in his workouts. Then, in the next week or two, he’s going to be able to start competing again, which is awesome because then we can begin to make adjustments and do stuff as he starts playing live – that’s super important so we can make sure everything we’re working on translates into games.
Adam Himmelsbach: Brad Stevens on Kyrie and also Hayward: “I think the whole time, he’s been shooting toward an early-August return to real live-action. So, he should be well ahead by the time we start practice. So, him and Gordon are about the same timeline.”
“Before [Gordon Hayward] left, he was running out on the basketball court,” Danny Ainge told Himmelsbach. “He was back to resuming basketball activities. It feels great.”
Gordon Hayward: It’s not something we were expecting to be a part of this recovery process, but I’m happy to report that I’ll be back out there resuming rehab soon, with my sights set firmly on being back to my usual self for the start of next season.
Gordon Hayward: In fact, the Friday before I had the surgery, I played one-on-one with Brandon Rush in Indianapolis, and felt really good about it. So it was not quite five-on-five, real basketball, but I was starting to ramp it up and was definitely due to get there in short order, and I was getting really excited about that.
Gordon Hayward: Once I get started, I’ll be jogging, then running, and then cutting and moving, and all that could happen within one to two weeks of each other, to where by the end of July I am playing full court, five-on-five basketball. And that’s probably the most exciting thing I could tell all of you.
Fred Katz: Brad Stevens on Kylie’s/Hayward’s rehab schedules: “They’re well on their way to being cleared. I think it’s just a matter of time.” Said his assumption — “and it’s very much an assumption” — is mid-August.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said forward Gordon Hayward is doing “great” following a May 31 procedure to remove a plate and screws from his surgically repaired left leg. “All success,” Stevens said. “Everything is good and pointed toward being back exactly where he was — hopefully pain-free, because that plate is taken out — in the middle of July, which probably points to an early August, mid August fully cleared time frame.”
Jay King: Gordon Hayward recently had the plate and screws removed from his injured fibula. The star hung out at his daughter’s birthday with Aron Baynes. Baynes: “We didn’t talk too much about that. He’s doing well. He was running around with the kids as I was running around with them.”
The Boston Celtics say forward Gordon Hayward had surgery to remove a plate and screws in his broken left leg and will be ready to start next season. Hayward missed almost the entire 2017-18 season after breaking his leg in the first quarter of the season opener. The Celtics reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Celtics forward Gordon Hayward today underwent successful surgery to remove the plate and screws that were implanted following the broken fibula he suffered on October 17. Hayward’s ankle and fibula are both structurally sound, and the removal of the plate and screws was necessary as they were causing irritation to his peroneal tendons. He is scheduled to return to basketball activities in six to eight weeks, and is expected to be at full strength for the start of training camp.
Scott Souza: #Celtics Gordon Hayward just arrived for tonight’s #Game7. (NO, he’s not playing).
Jay King: Brad Stevens said Gordon Hayward will be at Game 1 as a spectator.
Gordon Hayward: I know everybody is curious about where things stand with my rehab. It’s all been going really well. I’m happy to report I’m feeling like an athlete again. I’ve been in Indianapolis for the last couple weeks making some really good progress. I leave the hotel every morning at about 9:30 am and don’t get back til about 6 pm. We do a lot of running mechanics, physical therapy, a lift of some sort, and then court work for another few hours. It’s a full day, every day. I’m definitely moving along as planned, and progressing really well.
Chris Mannix: From @GordonHayward’s latest blog post
Jay King: Brad Stevens reiterated Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward should both come back fully healthy: “The injuries stink, but at the end of the day those guys are going to come back fully healthy and their careers won’t be impacted by those at all.”
Jared Weiss: Brad Stevens asked about what phase Gordon Hayward is in working with the running mechanics specialist: “He’s in the running mechanics specialist phase.”
Scott Souza: #Celtics Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward: We’re just trying to get him ready for Friday’s game … (waits on laughter). He won’t join us in Milwaukee. He’s a long, long, long way from playing.
Gordon Hayward: I’m happy to report I’ve made some solid progress in my recovery the last couple months. The most encouraging thing for me right now is that I’m accomplishing things that I wasn’t able to do before. This process is tedious. But you set these little goals that you have to accomplish, and you just slowly check them off.
Gordon Hayward: I’ve made some significant progress in basketball drills as well. It’s weird to say, but I’m really happy with where my shot is right now. Since the injury, I’ve obviously done nothing but really set-shoot, and my shot feels really, really good. I couldn’t really use my legs for the longest time, so I wanted to try to work on my shot. No matter where I caught it, I shot it.
Gordon Hayward: Unfortunately, the training room has become a lot more crowded over the last few weeks. It seems like one thing after another with injuries these days. Even in the same game, you have Marcus Smart tear a tendon in his thumb and had to get surgery, and that same night, Daniel Theis hurts his knee and he is done for the year. That was unreal. Then you have Jaylen take that scary fall that cost him a couple weeks with the concussion, and now Kyrie needs surgery to clean out his knee.
Jay King: Stevens on Gordon Hayward’s running/jogging video: “The next step of his progression is once every three days he gets on the court and does that. So as you can see it was about 20 percent speed, nothing lateral, no jumping. So a long, long way away.”
Get Ready… 3… 2… 1... @GordonHayward
Jay King: Stevens said Gordon Hayward is running/jogging three times a week. Still can’t do lateral work. Still a long way away. Noted Hayward’s slow pace. Obvious nothing has changed. “He’s not playing.”
Marc D’Amico: #NEBHInjuryReport: Brad Stevens says Gordon Hayward is still restricted to running on the Alter-G treadmill, and is not yet able to run on the court.
Marc D’Amico: Brad Stevens says of Gordon Hayward, “There will be nothing more exciting for him than being able to get back out on the basketball court.”
When asked by Celtics Wire if he’s kept in touch with Hayward, George explained how he tried to help set him up for success and watched him take off. “Yeah, I’ve been in touch with him. I’ve been in touch with him, texting and kind of been watching him from afar, how he’s been progressing. Early on, I was around him more so, sending him messages and talking to him. At this point, it looked like he’s doing really well, just watching him on the court.
George explained how he went through the exact same thing and how he helped Hayward prepare for the massive mental hurdles that are tossed in his way. “That’s one of the biggest things I told him, cause I knew it was going to be frustrating,” George said. “Where you feel like you’re getting better, you’re about to turn that corner and then you’re going to have some setbacks. That’s part of doing so well, putting so much stress on it, that sometimes it’s going to get sore, sometimes it’s going to feel like you shouldn’t have did something. It’s all part of the process.”
Reports of Gordon Hayward’s setback may have been greatly exaggerated. This according to the self-confessed exaggerator, who says now he was mistaken in his choice of words. […] The comment was big news, but Ainge told the Herald it was a little specious, if not fake.
“You know what? Sometimes I talk too much,” said Ainge. “‘Setback’ wasn’t the right word, so let me rephrase that because it’s not exactly true to say it — or say it that way. What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness. It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn’t ready for it at that point. That’s all it was. So I think ‘setback’ is the wrong way to put it. I mis-phrased that.”
“I’m not sure what the right word is, but he wasn’t ready for that. So we waited a couple of weeks before we started that again, and since we started that again it’s been great and he’s progressed along on the AlterG. That’s all. It wasn’t like he had an accident or anything like that. I used the word ‘setback,’ and it became a headline. Like, ‘Oh, setback.’ It got blown out of proportion. It’s my fault. I’m not blaming anybody. ‘Setback’ was probably too strong of a word.”
Jared Weiss: In an appearance on 98.5, Danny Ainge said that Gordon Hayward was progressing too fast in his rehab and had a set back about a month and a half ago, explaining the team’s change in messaging on his return.
Less than a week after Celtics coach Brad Stevens offered his most emphatic “He’s not playing this year” when asked about Hayward’s recovery, Hayward wouldn’t close the door completely on the possibility. “My thoughts are that I take it day by day. And I said that from the very beginning, that’s what I would do, not putting a timetable on it,” Hayward said Friday while unveiling a new gym for students at the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury. “The recovery is going well. I’m progressing well. I was in the facility this morning, will be in the facility tomorrow. And that’s kinda my goal — just really focusing day by day.”
Hayward has said multiple times this season that he was hopeful of being able to return. “The hope is still there,” Hayward said. “It’s something where I’m really honestly not even thinking about it. I know we’re getting toward the end of the year. It’s something that I’m still working toward, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”
Gary Washburn: Gordon Hayward said he is still taking his rehab “day by day.” Has taken “baby jumps,” has not ruled out a return this season but has no timetable. “The recovery is going well. Haven’t thought about (when I would return). Something I’m still working for.” #Celtics
Scott Souza: #Celtics Gordon Hayward on whether he remains “hopeful” for a return this season: “The hope is still there. … It’s something I’m still working for. But if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”
Scott Souza: #Celtics Gordon Hayward said he is 70 percent on Alter-G (was at practice facility this morning). Once he hits 80 percent can start running. That’s the next step in comeback process.
Boston will travel to Utah for an ESPN matchup on Wednesday, March 28, but Hayward still isn’t traveling with the team yet as he is unlikely to return this year. “He’s working his tail off and if he could play that would be great but I don’t think that’s really possible,” Gordon Sr. said. “He’s not even running or jumping yet.”
Ramona Shelbourne: I texted some Boston people and everyone who I would be in touch with and ask about it was like, ‘[Gordon Hayward] is not coming back. We wouldn’t do that to him, his career is way too important.’ I know what [Jeff Van Gundy] was saying by calling baloney on all that when he was like, ‘If [Boston] gets to the Finals, [Hayward] is gonna come back and do a Willis Reed.’ All I can tell you is, everyone in Boston that I’ve talked to seems to be saying there’s just no chance they would let him do that or put him in that position.
The day after The Players’ Tribune posted a video highlighting Gordon Hayward’s rehab from a fractured ankle, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens offered his most definitive comments of the year by saying that Hayward will not play again during the 2017-18 season. “He’s not playing this year. I don’t know what else to say,” said Stevens, who has fielded an increased amount of questions about Hayward’s progress in recent weeks.
“Did he dunk?” Stevens deadpanned when told that this was the first time we had seen video of Hayward jumping. “He’s progressing, yes. He did another alter-G [treadmill] workout this morning,” said Stevens. “He’s up to 60 percent of his weight on the alter-G. If you’ve ever run on the alter-G, that feels like you’re flying without your legs touching the ground. It’s great.”
A reporter playfully asked if we should ask Stevens for another update on Sunday. “Yeah, check back tomorrow,” cracked Stevens before jokingly adding, “He’ll be doubtful by Monday.”
Marc D’Amico: Stevens says it’s great to see Hayward’s progress after watching video of him jumping, but adds: “He’s still super long way from even being in a 1-on-1 workout where he’s cutting.”
Gordon Hayward: Patience. One goal. More to come ➡️ @PlayersTribune
Also: Don’t count on Gordon Hayward coming back this season, either. Stevens has been unequivocal when asked about Hayward (“I’ve said all year, not coming back,” Stevens said) and now the calendar is working against him. I saw Hayward before the All-Star break. He’s walking fine, but his ankle was still swollen and still purpleish, which makes it impossible to believe he will be ready to play before mid-April.
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February 17, 2019 | 9:04 pm EST Update
Jeff Zillgitt: If you care about such NBA All-Star things, Kevin Durant has passed Julius Erving & Bob Pettit for sixth on the all-time All-Star scoring list. Has a chance to pass Oscar Robertson for fifth place. LeBron James 343, Kobe Bryant 290, Michael Jordan 262, Oscar Robertson 246, KD 228