Celtics

Jefferson would 'love' to return to Boston

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Jefferson would 'love' to return to Boston

BOSTON When Doc Rivers watches former Celtic Al Jefferson on video now, he's amazed at what he sees -- and we're not talking about the significant weight loss, either.
"He just keeps getting better and better," Rivers said. "The thing that I thought I'd never say about Al, but Al's becoming a better passer and I'm very happy about that for him."
Indeed, the once-overweight big man who entered the NBA straight out of high school has evolved into one of the more offensively-gifted big men in the NBA with multiple means in which to impact games for the Utah Jazz.
On Wednesday, he delivered a solid performance of 13 points and 14 rebounds against his former team. But the C's still managed to escape with a win, 98-93.
With his size, experience and skill set, it's a given that Jefferson will be one of the more sought-after players this summer when he becomes a free agent.
"I'll cross that bridge when I get there. You don't want to think too far ahead," Jefferson said. "You have to take are of business, day by day. I really believe if I do my part, everything will work out."
Jefferson has said he's focused on doing all he can to get the Jazz back to the playoffs for the second straight year, but added that he would consider a return to Boston when he becomes a free agent.
"This is my first home," said Jefferson, who added that he loves it in Utah because they do things the right way, "kind of like Boston."
"This will always be my home away from home, first place I've been; gave me a chance when nobody else did," added Jefferson. "If that (returning to Boston) ever happened, I'd love to do that again. But right now, it's all about taking care of business and finishing the season off right."
Doing that means getting back to the playoffs, something that was a bit unexpected for the Jazz last season.
That experience bodes well for Jefferson, who had not been to the postseason since his days with the Celtics.
"Making that playoff run, he was a big part of that last year," Rivers said "That's kind of re-stoked him. It's good. He's a heck of a guy."
And a heck of a player who isn't the same wide-eyed youngster learning all he could from the slew of Celtics veterans ahead of him on the depth chart.
These days, he's the one doling out advice to youngsters like Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
"I think what probably surprises Al is how quickly you become a veteran," Rivers said. "And now, you have to give direction. It happens quickly."

Isaiah Thomas visits Gordon Hayward in locker room after injury

Isaiah Thomas visits Gordon Hayward in locker room after injury

Isaiah Thomas knew he wasn't going to be able to play in Tuesday's season opener against his former team. That unforunately wasn't close to the extent of the game's injury news. 

According to NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely, Thomas went in to check on Gordon Hayward after the Celtics forward suffered a fractured left ankle in the first quarter of Tuesday's game. 

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Though Thomas was traded to Cleveland before the two had a chance to play together, Hayward and the Celtics have credited Thomas with being a big piece of recruiting the former Jazz star.

"[The trade of Thomas to Cleveland] was a really strange moment because I'd really been looking forward to playing with him," Hayward wrote on his website last month. "He didn't just help recruit me to Boston--he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him."

Paul George, J.J. Watt send Gordon Hayward wishes after gruesome injury

Paul George, J.J. Watt send Gordon Hayward wishes after gruesome injury

Gordon Hayward suffered one of the more disturbing pro sports injuries in recent memory. Those who have had similar luck were quick to send their well wishes. 

Hayward could be seen looking at his left leg/ankle in horror after crashing to the floor following an alley-oop attempt in the first quarter of Tuesday’s season opener in Cleveland. Paul George, who in 2014 broke his leg in gruesome fashion during a Team USA showcase, tweeted his prayers for Hayward in the moments after the injury. 

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J.J. Watt, who is out for the season again after he suffered a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg in Week 5, also tweeted his support. 

In addition to George and Watt, a cast of Hayward’s peers voiced their thoughts for him.