Gordon Hayward is slowly recovering from his dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia.
While making an appearance on 98.5 the Sports Hub in Boston, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said the All-Star forward is out of his post-surgery hard cast and in the infant stages of rehabilitation, per ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg:
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said injured forward Gordon Hayward is out of his hard cast and into a walking boot in the early stages of rehab for a fractured left ankle. During his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub, Stevens noted that Hayward aided the coaching staff by providing info before recent wins over the Bucks and Spurs and that Hayward’s spirits are “really good.” Stevens also noted that Hayward has begun shooting out of a chair.
Updates like these will probably trickle out for the rest of the season. Some will take that as a sign that Hayward is ahead of schedule and potentially able to return before the end of the year.
Don’t be one of them.
The Celtics have already been granted an injury hardship exception for the loss of Hayward. They don’t have an incentive to rush him back. At best, he might be ready for the last few games of the season, leading into the playoffs. Throwing him into that environment is too risky.
Things would be different if the Celtics were ticketed for the lottery and had nothing to play for, a la the Indiana Pacers and Paul George in 2014-15. But the Celtics aren’t the Pacers. They’re 6-2 following their Wednesday night victory over the Sacramento Kings. They’ll be prepping for the postseason. So take the latest as a sign that Hayward is doing well—and shooting out of a chair, apparently—and nothing more.