Stevens: Hayward 'NOT playing this year'

Stevens: Hayward 'NOT playing this year'

HOUSTON –  Brad Stevens and the Celtics have been consistent in talking about Gordon Hayward not coming back this season.

And as one social media post after another pops up, Celtics Nation continues to hold out hope that he can somehow return and play this season.

Not happening, said coach Brad Stevens.

“He’s not playing this year,” Stevens said (again) to reporters this morning. “I don’t know what else to say.”

Stevens’ response was to a video Hayward released on Friday showing Hayward doing some ball-handling drills but more important, taking shots while leaving the ground.

It may not seem like that big a deal, but it’s a big deal image-wise because it shows Gordon doing exactly what the Celtics are looking for him to do when healthy – make shots.

That’s just part of the process he’s involved with to get back on the court as soon as possible.

Hayward did another workout this morning using the anti-gravity treadmill, one in which he has gradually increased the amount of weight he puts on his feet.

“He’s up to 60 percent of his weight,” Stevens said. “If you’ve ever run in the Ultra-G, it feels like you’re flying without your legs touching the ground.

Stevens added, “the videos are great. They continue to show the progress. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of that long rehab, you don’t feel the progress of the day-to-day. Now, we all might see a video or somebody that hasn’t see him may see a video and say, ‘he really is getting better.’ But he’s super-long way away, from even being in a one-on-one workout where he’s cutting.”

Shortly after suffering a dislocated left ankle injury just five minutes into the season opener at Cleveland, the Celtics made it clear that they did not expect Gordon Hayward to return to action this season.

Since then, Hayward has attacked his rehab with a seemingly renewed focus on doing all he could to get back in time to help the Celtics near the end of the season or in the playoffs.

So...we’ll check back in tomorrow on Hayward?

“Check back tomorrow,” quipped Stevens. “He’ll be doubtful Monday.”



Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

File Photo

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas back in green? Maybe there's a chance after all.

The former Celtics guard, now with the Lakers, started a Q&A session on Twitter and was asked whether he'd consider returning to Boston this offseason. This was his answer...

That's not a no.

Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving the Celtics. His brief tenure in Cleveland didn't go according to plan, and things haven't gotten a whole lot better out in L.A. The 29-year-old is averaging 15.3 points per game just a year after averaging 28.9 with Boston.

Let the speculation begin.


Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Al Horford understands that there’s plenty of blame pie to go around following Boston’s 108-89 loss to New Orleans. 

Considering how Pelicans stud Anthony Davis dominated the game on so many levels Sunday night, Horford was quick to acknowledge his role in the loss. 

“He (Davis) was able to get behind our defense a lot,” Horford told reporters after the loss. “Some mistakes on my end; gotta give him credit. He dominated tonight. I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Davis finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, a total that would have been higher if not for the game being so lopsided which allowed Davis to head to the bench early in the fourth. 

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And Horford’s struggles defensively were just as problematic on offense as the five-time All-Star tallied just six points on 3-for-11 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. 

Boston has been a team whose collective sums have fueled their success. 

But Horford understands he has to be a high impact performer, a job that’s even more vital when key starters like Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are out as well as top reserves Marcus Smart (right thumb) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus). 

And by Horford’s own admission, he just didn’t bring it on Sunday at a level to give him and the Celtics a legit shot at winning the game.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Horford said. “And the game got away from us in the second half. So there’s no excuses. I didn’t give us a chance, either; missing a lot of looks offensively. I just need to be better.”

And he’ll have to be if Boston (47-23) is to get back on track with a win on Tuesday against a talented Oklahoma City squad led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. 

At full strength, the Thunder would be a significant challenge for the Celtics. 

But having a roster with a number of key players out with injuries, it becomes even more imperative for Boston’s top players to elevate their play. 

And as you scan this Celtics roster and examine those who are healthy enough to play, it’s clear that Horford more than any other Boston player, has to find a way to become more impactful.

Certainly, more points and rebounds would help. 

But as we’ve seen time and time again with Horford, often his greatest contributions to winning games don’t necessarily show up in the final box score. 

That being said, a six-point, four-rebound game doesn’t cut it. 

Horford has to be better, something he knows better than anyone. 

“I’ll definitely look at the film and see how I can be better individually,” Horford said. “The good thing about the NBA, is we have a chance to play on Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game and be ready to go Tuesday at home.”