Although the Boston Celtics have said Gordon Hayward will not play again this season due to the leg injury he sustained on opening day, the former Butler Bulldog refuses to shut the metaphorical door of return. In fact, Hayward was recently spotted jogging during a practice session, which is certainly a good sign, considering the gruesome nature of his injury.

Among Celtics fans, there is still hope that Hayward might be cleared to play at some point during Boston's playoff run. However, head coach Brad Stevens and his medical staff have taken a cautious approach with their star forward's rehabilitation, insisting that he won't play again until next season.

Whether or not Hayward, now 28 years of age, will indeed be cleared to play this season remains to be seen. He has shown signs of progress, and the hope is still there.

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“The hope is still there,” Hayward told ESPN of his potential return in March. “It's something where I'm really honestly not even thinking about it. I know we're getting toward the end of the year. It's something that I'm still working toward, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

“Every single time I go out, people ask how's my ankle, am I coming back?” Hayward said. “So I get it all the time. … Haven't really thought about [the possibility of a return]. Just continuing to think, like, what am I going to do today that will [make him] better.”

Without a doubt, Hayward is known as one of the best shooters in today's NBA. Opposing sides know they can't leave him open on the perimeter, lest they pay the price. He's played 517 games over the course of his career in the league, averaging 15.6 points on 44.4 percent shooting from the field (36.8 percent from beyond the arc), 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.0 steal in 31.3 minutes.

The Celtics — now the No. 2 seeded team in the Eastern Conference standings with a 53-23 overall record — will be back in action on Tuesday night, as they're scheduled to face the Milwaukee Bucks inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center at 8:00 p.m. EST.