Gordon Hayward had one of the more grotesque leg injuries that we have seen in the NBA for a while on opening night when the Celtics took on the Cavaliers in Cleveland.
While most would safely assume that Hayward was done until next fall, there have been rumors that have popped up at times over the past few months that suggest that Hayward could actually return to the Celtics in time for the 2018 playoffs.
This photo posted by Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge on Tuesday is going to add fuel to that fire…
USA swimmer @smeathers5 (no muscle) coached by Celtic great @gordonhayward (no brace) lost a devastating race to Australian swimmer @stephen_mount today. No rematch is scheduled nor will be. #swimmersneedmuscles pic.twitter.com/lxTD4UqiIB
— Danny Ainge (@danielrainge) January 9, 2018
The fact that Hayward is already out of a brace and walking and swimming is pretty incredible, and a great sign considering how gruesome the injury was, but it still feels unlikely that Hayward will actually return for the Celtics this season.
Whether he is medically cleared by the team or not, I think it would be a bad idea for the Celtics to bring Hayward back to the court at any time this season, even with how enticing it could be to add him to a roster that is already positioned to compete for an NBA title.
There have been way too many examples of players coming back from leg or knee injuries too soon and suffering the consequences for the remainder of their career because of it.
Grant Hill dealt with injuries for years and was never the same player after coming back in the 2000 postseason to play for the Detroit Pistons and Brandon Roy was never an effective NBA player again and was out of the league just a few years after returning for the 2010 playoffs for the Blazers, while recovering from knee surgery.
The Celtics have one of the youngest rosters in the NBA and a very bright future, there is no reason to put your most heavily invested asset (for the moment) at risk in order to increase your chances to compete for an NBA title slightly in 2018.