It’s been nearly two months since Gordon Hayward suffered his terrifying ankle injury against the Cavaliers on opening night in Cleveland. Boston’s top free agent signing collapsed to the floor with a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia five minutes into his first game in a Celtics uniform, leading to NBA players, fans, and athletes from all over to rally around the injured star.
Since then, Hayward has had successful surgery and has been shooting from a chair to get some reps in, but it has been a bit since we got an official update on his rehab status. The prevailing thought was that the injury would likely keep Hayward out for the season, although no actual timetable was ever given so as to prevent him from feeling rushed back.
A recent Instagram story showing Hayward playing video games without his walking boot caused excitement among Celtics fans about Hayward’s progress in coming back from his gruesome injury.
On Thursday, Celtics GM Danny Ainge appeared on the Toucher & Rich Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston for his weekly appearance, and offered up some positive updates on Hayward’s status. According to Ainge, Hayward is able to take off his walking boot for brief periods of time and is “a couple weeks away” from being able to take it off permanently, via CBS Local Boston.
“He’s progressing along. He can take the boot off for short periods of time. He’s doing really well. His therapy is going great. He’s right on schedule,” Ainge said of Hayward. “He’s doing sometimes two workouts a day and trying to get stronger. The next phases are just getting out of the boot completely. But I still think that’s a couple of weeks away from being permanently out of the boot.”
I’m no expert on timelines for injuries, but this seems like a good sign for Hayward. Him getting out of the boot before the end of 2017 would appear to be an indication that things are healing properly. There’s still no official timetable for Hayward’s return to the basketball court and what he’ll be able to do once he gets out of the boot, which is important to remember.
There will naturally be some that see this as an indication he could return this season, but that still seems like a long shot and the Celtics will continue to be cautious to ensure when he returns he’s at full strength physically and mentally. Even so, Hayward being “on schedule” for his rehab so far is a great sign for Celtics fans and the organization as they hope to be a top contender in the East for years to come.