Celtics’ Gordon Hayward has been playing 5-on-5 with no restrictions for 2 weeks
Boston Celtics star Gordon Hayward spoke to the media Thursday and offered a chipper view of his outlook as training camp approaches. After a long rehab from a devastating ankle injury, Hayward has been playing five-on-five with no restrictions for the last two weeks, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium.
Hayward added he’s effectively back to 100 percent, but he’s still working on getting his full explosiveness back. As of right now, the plan is for him to play on opening night.
Hayward suffered a severe broken left ankle during the Celtics’ season-opening loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers last year. The injury happened just five minutes into the game, casting a pall upon Boston as the team lost its star acquisition for the season.
The Celtics recovered, though, with youngsters Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown stepping up on the wing in Hayward’s absence. Boston won 55 games and reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals without both Hayward and Kyrie Irving, who dealt with his own injury that cost him the postseason.
Hayward and Irving seem ready to rock for 2018-19, and the Celtics are the favorite in the East with LeBron James off to the Los Angeles Lakers. It will likely take Hayward a bit of time for him to get back in his groove, but Boston has excellent depth that will allow the All-Star to ease back into things.
In Hayward’s last full season, he recorded a career-high 21.9 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for the Utah Jazz. The 28-year-old likely won’t reach those numbers in Boston thanks to the massive amount of talent on the roster, but he’ll play a key role in the team’s quest for a championship.