PHILADELPHIA – Thursday was a travel day for the Celtics, but part of the day for Brad Stevens was spent visiting with Gordon Hayward, who underwent successful left ankle surgery that’s expected to keep him out for the rest of the season.
“He’s obviously post-surgery, having some of the post-surgery challenges of pain and everything else,” Stevens said. “The surgery went great. His spirits were pretty positive.”
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He is, all things considered, in a very good place.
Stevens and the Celtics plan to do all they can to keep Hayward there as he now finds himself in the early stages of rehabilitation.
“We talked a little about how to approach the next five months, with maintaining that positivity in different ways to stay engaged, different ways to approach this, to attack this. He was ready to get started with his rehab the minute he got out of surgery.”
Eager to help, Stevens reached out to good friend Frank Vogel.
Vogel, who now coaches the Orlando Magic, was the coach of the Indiana Pacers when Paul George went down with a season-ending knee injury while playing for Team USA in 2014.
“It’s really important to just be active, to be as active as you can,” Stevens said. “I called Frank Vogel, the day we drove to the gym to play Milwaukee, just asked him what are some of the things Paul did in his year off that you would encourage? What are some of the things that we should look at?”
Among the tips he received was to work with Hayward on form shooting while sitting in a chair.
“Hey, he’s gonna be the best guy shooting out of a chair with his left hand, right hand, perfect his form,” Stevens said of Hayward. “Let’s have fun, let’s come up with creative ways to attack this.”