Celtics coach Stevens says no return for Hayward this season
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
With rumors swirling around the possibility that Gordon Hayward could return to the Boston Celtics this season, coach Brad Stevens didn't mince words on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). According to ESPN's Chris Forsberg, Stevens confirmed that Hayward, who has been out since the season opener with a fractured ankle, will not play in the 2017-18 season.
"He's not playing this year. I don't know what else to say," said Stevens, who has fielded an increased amount of questions about Hayward's progress in recent weeks.
On Friday, Hayward tweeted the Players' Tribune video with a caption, "Patience. One goal," and hinted that more details were coming about his rehab. The sight of Hayward getting a tiny bit of lift on his jump shot during workouts filmed on the west coast in late January and early February left some observers wondering if he was making the sort of progress that might make a return this season possible.
In recent weeks, Stevens and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had noted that Hayward was making progress but still wasn't even ready to travel with the team until he had reached the point where he could do workouts away from the alter-G anti-gravity treadmill that he's been forced to use while waiting for clearance to run at full body weight on the injured ankle.
Brad Stevens with his most definitive “he’s not playing this year” in regard to Gordon Hayward at shootaround this morning. pic.twitter.com/HxBr69ssXj— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) March 3, 2018