Celtics

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."

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