Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury in last year's regular season opener, which forced him to miss the remainder of that campaign. His road to recovery has been long and arduous, filled with twists and turns along the way. And though he's made his return to the floor, the former Butler Bulldog recently spoke with ESPN to discuss some of the lower points of his rehabilitation process.

Hayward, now 28 years of age, tells ESPN's Zach Lowe that the lowest point in his recovery came when he learned that his injury would require a second surgery.

“I was miserable,” Hayward tells ESPN. “To go back into a walking boot after all that progress — back on crutches. That was my lowest moment.”

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It was late May, and Hayward was progressing well in his recovery. He was finally able to run at full speed and play some one-on-one. That's when doctors decided to remove the plate and screws in his ankle.

Hayward tells ESPN that the plate and screws in his ankle were causing quite a bit of agitation, and that he had lobbied to have removed earlier.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” Hayward told ESPN, “but I wish we had knocked this out in March.”

Hayward, who admits that he is wired for stress, says the notion that he would require a second surgery made him miserable.

“I was miserable,” Gordon Hayward says. “To go back into a walking boot after all that progress — back on crutches. That was my lowest moment.”

“That's how I'm wired,” Hayward added. “I stress and stress.”

Hayward made his return to the hardwood in Boston's preseason opener against the Charlotte Hornets. Though the C's were defeated, Hayward logged 23 minutes, scoring 10 points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field (1-of-5 from beyond the arc), three rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Hayward will be held out of Boston's preseason finale against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday due to a sore lower back. Kyrie Irving (rest) will also be held out. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. EST with NBA TV having live broadcast coverage.