Toucher and Rich

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

When is a setback not a setback?

When Danny Ainge says, "You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," Ainge told the Boston Herald over the weekend. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it - or say it that way.

The Celtics president of basketball operations, in his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub and simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, used that word when he was describing how Gordon Hayward is coming along in his recovery. 

"He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago," Ainge said on the radio last week. "We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought."

Ainge clarified that to the Herald's Steve Bulpett. 

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness," he said. "It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been adamant that Hayward, recovering from his gruesome leg and ankle injury in the season opener, will not play for the Celtics this season. On Sunday, Stevens, via's Jay King, characterized Stevens' soreness as a "small" issue. 



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."