Gordon Hayward’s status for this season was once thought to be settled. Maybe even twice. But Brad Stevens has continued to answer reporters’ questions about whether Hayward will play again for the Boston Celtics this season.
The answer, for the most part at least, has been no. Hayward broke his leg on opening night and has been aggressively rehabbing it since. While Hayward wants to play again this season, saying there’s still hope he gets back on the court sometime in the postseason, Stevens has insisted over the past month that he does not foresee the star forward returning to the lineup before next season.
As it turns out, the aggressive nature of his rehab may be the reason why reporters keep having to ask what Hayward’s deal is. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge spoke on Boston radio on Thursday and explained that Hayward had a minor setback recently during his rehab, although he’s still progressing well.
Jared Weiss transcribed Ainge’s radio appearance for everyone unable to listen in at the time. The GM went on to say Hayward was “progressing a little too fast” and suffered a setback sometime in the last month.
Ainge said he doesn’t want to get fans too excited about what will be a long road for Hayward to come back, no matter how hard he works. He complimented his star’s effort in getting back, but also noted that as of now he’s not even on the court.
“I don’t want to get people’s hopes up,” Ainge said. “He still is not back on the basketball court and we have a month left in the regular season. He’s got a ways to go but we’re excited about his progress and his determination.”
The biggest hope is that Hayward returns to the floor at 100 percent, both physically and mentally, whenever he’s able. It sounds increasingly unlikely that return will be during the 2017-18 season, as Stevens has been telling us for awhile.