Celtics

Agent doesn't expect Gordon Hayward to return this season, but foresees full recovery

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Agent doesn't expect Gordon Hayward to return this season, but foresees full recovery

PHILADELPHIA --  Only hours removed from surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and fractured fibia injury, Gordon Hayward’s agent tells NBC Sports Boston that his client is already attacking the rehab process.
 
“We expect him to have a full recovery,” agent Mark Bartelstein said via phone Thursday.
 
That said, Bartelstein also noted that it’s unlikely that the 6-foot-8 forward will return to action this season.
 
“We don’t have a timetable or anything like that for him,” Bartelstein said. “It’s about getting better, healthier every day.”
 
The Celtics released a statement Thursday afternoon indicating Hayward underwent successful “bony and ligamentous stabilization surgery for the fracture dislocation of his left ankle.”
 
Performing the surgery was Drs. Mark Slovenkai and Brian McKeon at New England Baptist Hospital, with Dr. Anthony Schena assisting followed by consultations with Dr. David Porter of Methodist Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.
 
Hayward suffered the injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday when he was attempting to catch a lob pass from Kyrie Irving.
 
On the play, Hayward landed awkwardly on his ankle, which contorted in a way where it was clear immediately that he would be out of action for a significant amount of time.
 
Since the injury, Hayward has received an amazing amount of outpouring of well-wishes and prayers from Kobe Bryant, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and a cast of other current and former athletes. Both Edelman and Gronkowski know all too well about the challenges associated with returning to play after an injury.
 
"Go into rehab just like you go into anything else: dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you’re 100 percent. He wouldn’t be where he is now if he wasn’t a hard worker.”
 
And then there are the Celtics fans, whose support has been impressive.
 
Hayward delivered a pre-recorded message to the fans at the TD Garden that was aired on the Jumbotron high above half court prior to Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee. Even after the video ended, there was no escaping Hayward’s presence was still very much in the building and on the minds of fans.
 
At one point in the 108-100 Celtics loss on Wednesday, Boston fans began a “Gor-don Hay-ward!” chant that soon swept its way throughout the TD Garden.
 
“It has been a bit overwhelming the amount of support that Gordon has received,” Bartelstein said. “It touched him in so many ways. The outpouring he got, certainly all the fans in the arena last night, from players around the league … it meant the world to him. And obviously, going through something like this, it’s devastating. So, to see so many reach out to him, it means the world to him and his family; there’s no doubt about it.”

Marcus Smart says he's 'strong enough to get back out there'

Marcus Smart says he's 'strong enough to get back out there'

MILWAUKEE – With Boston’s 104-102 Game 3 loss to Milwaukee, the Celtics are guaranteed a return trip to Milwaukee for Game 6 later this week.

At that point in the series, both team’s depth will be an issue.

Boston’s depth hasn’t been great, but it potentially could be better if Marcus Smart is cleared to play following a right thumb injury suffered last month.

The 6-foot-4 guard will have a check-up on Tuesday and if he’s cleared to resume practicing with the team, that would pave the way for him to be available to play in Game 6 on Thursday.

“That’s the plan. We’re still on the same track,” Smart said.

Smart has been working diligently with the training staff since he had his right thumb surgically repaired last month.

“I feel ready, I feel strong enough to get back out there,” Smart said. “I’m just waiting for the OK.”

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In the meantime, Smart has been walking around with one type of splint to help insure that he doesn’t accidentally bump his thumb and potentially do damage to it. That splint is different than the one he will play with upon getting cleared to return to action. While the idea of playing with a splint may not seem ideal, Smart said he’s comfortable shooting with it.

Before playoff games 2, 3 and 4 of this series with Boston, Smart has been on the floor prior to the game working on his perimeter shooting, dribble-drive, pull-ups, free throws and pretty much anything he does shooting-wise during a game. Smart has also worked on his conditioning, lateral quickness drills and other work to help strengthen his core, all done with him returning sooner rather than later. 

But ultimately, it is Smart's comfort level with his right hand and the splint that he'll play with, that will determine what kind of impact one can expect once he returns to action. 

“It feels like it’s nothing there,” Smart said of playing with the splint. “To have that comfortability in my dominant hand, my shooting hand, that’s a good feeling to have.”

Smart, who has distinguished himself as Boston’s top perimeter defender, has appeared in 54 games for the Celtics this season. The fourth-year guard averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds this season while playing 29.9 minutes per game.

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Frustrations continue to mount for Morris as Celtics drop Game 4

Frustrations continue to mount for Morris as Celtics drop Game 4

MILWAUKEE – Marcus Morris, in an iso situation with a chance to tie the game up and potentially force overtime. 

If you’re the Boston Celtics, you’ll take that scenario without hesitation. 

But this was a road game, in Milwaukee, a place where very little has gone the way Morris intended.

Sunday was yet another one of those days for Morris, whose shot was off the mark as time expired in Milwaukee’s 104-102 Game 4 win which tied the best-of-seven series at two games apiece heading into Tuesday’s pivotal Game 5 matchup at the TD Garden. 

After the game, Morris said the shot felt good on the release and he thought it was going in. 

The man defending him, Khris Middleton, felt the same way. 

“I just tried to contest it,” Middleton said. “He took a lot of tough shots. He’s a tough-shot maker. I just tried to challenge it. He got me with the same move in the first half and made it. This time I challenged it, used my length and I thought it was good from my view but it just went a little bit long.”

Morris led the Celtics bench with 13 points, but only shot 4-for-14 from the field. 

As you listen to Morris following the Game 4 loss, it’s hard to tell whether he’s more consumed by the disappointment of how this series has played out the last two games, or frustration over more and more attention being paid to him and his interactions with game officials. 

The 6-foot-9 forward was recently fined $15,000 for critical comments following Boston’s Game 3 loss. 

And it’s clear that he’s still trying to figure out why things have been as they are with him and officials.

“I mean, I don’t know … one thing is every day I come out here, I put my hard hat on,” Morris said. “And I love to play this game. It’s just … game-in and game-out, it’s the same thing. I’m not doing a lot of chit-chat. I’m being physical and I’m watching these other games and they give them warnings and … if it’s me a technical foul. You come to work every day and put your heart and soul into something, and you feel like it’s a quick whistle on you. That’s just how it goes.”

While the whistles may seem to come quicker on him than a lot of other players, that should not have as big an impact on the way he has struggled shooting the ball in the last two games. 

In Games 1 and 2 in Boston, Morris averaged 19.5 points per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field. 

When the series moved to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4, Morris’ scoring average dropped to just 10 points per game courtesy of him connecting on just 27.3 percent of his shot attempts. 

 The bottom line is clear: Boston has to play better on many levels, in order to regain control of this series. 

And part of that improvement involves Morris.

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