Celtics

Ainge: 'Nothing's changed' regarding Hayward's return

Ainge: 'Nothing's changed' regarding Hayward's return

LONDON -- The image of Gordon Hayward not wearing an ankle brace was the kind of visual tease that Celtics fans took and ran with, believing it to be proof that Hayward’s return to action was near.

Well, the man who posted the picture via social media -- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge -- provided some context on the photo during his weekly call-in to 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show.

Ainge said the goal was for Hayward to be brace-free three months out from when the injury occurred (Oct. 17), which would have put him moving about without a brace around now.

But in terms of what everybody wants to know -- when will he play again? -- there are numerous steps that still need to be taken and cleared before that becomes a realistic topic of conversation.

Coach Brad Stevens discussed the picture shortly after it was posted, reiterating that the plan all along was, if things went as expected, Hayward would be out of his brace sometime this month.

But Stevens cautioned, “There’s a long way to go” before adding, “[All] the way from the surgery to the rehab and everything else, it’s been great. That said, he hasn’t done anything on the court. So, there’s so many boxes still to check. It’s great that he’s making good strides, but the timelines and those things don’t change.”

And as far as talks about his return, Ainge addressed that straight-on Thursday morning.

“That conversation (Hayward returning to play) has not happened and will not happen for a long time from now,” Ainge said. “We’re putting no pressure on that situation. Our mindset is still that he will play next year. Nothing has changed in that regard.”

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Report: Celtics waive swingman Abdel Nader

Report: Celtics waive swingman Abdel Nader

The Celtics have waived swingman Abdel Nader, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports. It opens up a roster spot perhaps for Jabari Bird or another player who impressed in Summer League play.

Nader, 24, a native of Egypt, was a second-round pick in 2016 (58th overall). The 6-6 guard/small forward averaged 3.0 points and 1.5 rebounds and shot 33.6 percent (35.4 from 3) in 48 games last season, his first in the NBA.  He's still owed $450,000 but the rest of his contract was non-guaranteed. 

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Hayward looks just about ready in latest video

Hayward looks just about ready in latest video

Gordon Hayward told our Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely earlier this week that "I'm just about full speed" (see video above) as he recovers from the devastating injury that derailed his season five minutes into his Celtics debut.

As if to prove it, Hayward posted an Instagram video that shows his surgically repaired ankle appearing to hold up pretty well as he hits a series of step-back and turnaround jumpers working with skills coach Drew Hanlen and finishes with him sinking 18 consecutive 3-pointers and counting.

It's on to five-on-five work next month. 

Click here for more on Blakely's exclusive one-on-one interview with Hayward.

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