Hayward progressing, return still undecided

NBA.com Global on Dec 22, 2017 05:21 AM
Hayward progressing, return still undecided
FILE - BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 2: Gordon Hayward #20 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics talk before the game against the Charlotte Hornets during a preseason game on October 2, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA.com staff report

As news comes of Gordon Hayward making progress in his rehab from the dislocated ankle he suffered on opening night, questions remain about whether or not he can possibly play again for the Celtics this season.

Hayward doesn't want to think about it. Thinking about being on the court with his teammates is too frustrating. In this week's Sports Illustrated, Lee Jenkins digs deep into Hayward's recovery and addresses the possibility of a return in the Spring...

No one expects Hayward to return this spring, but no one completely shuts the door. It's cracked, because who knows how far Boston will advance and how fast Hayward will mend. In 2006, 76ers forward Shavlik Randolph was practicing four months after a broken ankle, though he wasn't at full strength for about a year. I was terrified when it happened that I wouldn't be able to ever play again because it hurt and looked so bad," Randolph texted from China, where he is with the Beikong Fly Dragons. "But it did not affect me long-term.... It will be just a matter of how long it takes to get his strength and mobility back. Different people get that back at different rates, but he is an elite athlete with a terrific work ethic, so I don't see any reason why he doesn't get all of it back relatively quickly."

Hayward appreciates any optimism, but he is reluctant to entertain it, not when he is finally sleeping again. "Wishing to be on the court, trying to be on the court, those are the thoughts that kept me up at night," he says. Cobbs and Randolph cannot relate to the attention focused on Hayward's ankle, now protected by a small black brace. According to Google, the most-searched athlete in the United States in 2017 has been Floyd Mayweather. Second is Gordon Hayward.

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