Celtics

Ainge: "Gordon Hayward wants to return faster than anyone has from this injury"

Ainge: "Gordon Hayward wants to return faster than anyone has from this injury"

BOSTON – A picture of Gordon Hayward without a boot on his left leg, posted by his wife Robyn, sent Celtics Nation into a brief tizzy that maybe, just maybe, the season-ending ankle injury he suffered five minutes into the opener may not be season-ending after all.

Danny Ainge -- while stressing the recuperation timetable hasn't changed -- says Hayward "deep inside . . . wants to come faster than anybody has from this kind of injury."

"He's got a competitive streak to him and he's asking lots of questions," Ainge said Thursday morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich. "He's diligent in his rebab. I know what's going on his mind, but I don't think he'll say anything about how fast he wants to get back."

Officially, however, he's still on pace for a 2018-19 comeback.

“He can take the boot off for short periods of time,” Ainge said. “But yeah, he’s doing really well. His therapy is going great. He’s right on schedule. He’s sometimes doing two workouts a day, trying to get stronger. The next phase is getting out of the boot completely, but I still think that’s a couple weeks away, from being permanently out of the boot.”

Coach Brad Stevens echoed similar sentiments, adding that Hayward still wears the boot most of the day.

“He wears the boot until a certain time every evening and then he can take it off,” Stevens said. “When he moves around, he can move around with a brace that’s like a boot.”

Hayward suffered a dislocated left ankle injury in the season opener at Cleveland. The injury led to the Celtics being granted an $8.4 million disabled player exception, which is the largest DPE granted to an NBA team.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

Kobe Bryant will forever be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors in sports history. That unmatched competitiveness was amplified whenever his Los Angeles Lakers faced off against their archrival, the Boston Celtics.

Two months after the Lakers fell to the C's in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant headed to China to take part in the Summer Olympics. There, he helped the United States earn its first gold medal since 2000.

But the sting from his loss to the Celtics overshadowed the euphoria of his Olympics victory.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

WNBA star Sue Bird, who also was in China for the '08 Games, told a great story about witnessing Bryant's competitive attitude while drinking wine and playing card games with him that summer.

“He was fresh off [the Finals loss] and you could tell [he was still thinking it]” Bird told Los Angeles Sparks star and ESPN analyst Chiney Ogwuimike.“… [We were] just kicking it and he saw this newspaper — it was something about the Lakers series and blah blah blah — and there was a picture of Paul Pierce celebrating.

“And he didn’t say a word. He didn’t say anything. But we saw him take the paper. He started cutting out the Paul Pierce picture. He folded it up and put it in his pocket and was like, ‘Motivation.’ And we were like, ‘Oh, it never stops with him.’ And you can tell.”

Watch below:

There never will be another player like the "Black Mamba."

Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26 along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. He was 41 years old.

You can listen to Pierce reminisce about the C's Finals win over the Lakers in the Celtics Talk Podcast below:

Here's how Celtics' Gordon Hayward is staying busy amid coronavirus outbreak

Here's how Celtics' Gordon Hayward is staying busy amid coronavirus outbreak

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is spending some much needed time with his family, but he's probably seen Disney's "Frozen" more times than he's wanted to. 

"I think I've watched 'Frozen' 35 times already," Hayward said, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe. 

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

Watching Disney films isn't the only thing the 30-year-old gamer is doing -- Hayward told Lowe he's been teaching his daughters how to play Mario Kart and Pokemon. While Hayward is one of the NBA's biggest video game nerds, he, unfortunately, isn't participating in the NBA 2K Tournament that begins on Saturday.

While his daughters are enjoying watching movies and playing video games, Hayward says they're missing the TD Garden court. 

Listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast: 

"This was the first season they actually liked to go," Hayward said. "And not to watch me play. Just to hang out. They miss that."

Hayward probably misses it even more. He's averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from beyond the arc. In the C's final game before the NBA hit pause on the 2019-20 campaign, Hayward tallied 27 points against the Indiana Pacers with 10 rebounds. 

If the NBA season does resume at any point in the future, Hayward should be well-rested and ready to go.