Ainge: Hayward doesn't think he'll return this year

Ainge: Hayward doesn't think he'll return this year

On Wednesday's Toucher & Rich radio appearance, Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman sparked a Gordon Hayward-will-return mania when he speculated that Hayward wouldn't be working out eight or nine hours a day if he wasn't preparing to play again this season.

On Thursday's Toucher & Rich show, Danny Ainge doused those flames.

"I don't believe that Gordon thinks he's going to play. I don't think so, no," he said on his weekly appearance on the 98.5 The Sports Hub program. And he explained why:

"[Hayward's] not even full weight-bearing on his foot doing anything yet," Ainge said. "He is on the AlterG (an anti-gravity treadmill), which is half his body weight, maybe up to 60 percent of his body weight. There's just a long way to go before he can get out on a basketball court.

"And then once he's 100 percent cleared physically, which he's not close to that yet, there's a long process of just getting your mind and your confidence in your foot and overcoming the mental part of it."

So why make such a big public deal of his workouts, as Hayward has been doing?

"I think that Gordon just wants to show everyone when he comes back next year . . . all the work that he put in to get back to who he was when he got here. [And attempt to become an] even better player than he was when he got hurt."


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.”