BOSTON — A frustrated Gordon Hayward said he’s received three cortisone shots trying to combat a nerve issue in his left foot that he believes is connected to his gruesome ankle injury two years ago, but is hopeful they’ve found a remedy that will allow him to get back on the court on Christmas Day.
Hayward said his foot felt “a lot better” Tuesday, a day after receiving a third injection aimed at eliminating the pain that has bothered a general area of his left foot since Boston’s win in Cleveland on November 5. Hayward said that, if the foot still feels good on Wednesday morning, he’ll play in Boston’s Christmas Day game against the Toronto Raptors.
But Hayward’s frustration was evident as he tried to answer reporters questions about the ailment.
"I was frustrated, I was super frustrated,” said Hayward. "I broke my hand [on November 9] and this was a different issue that, when I wasn’t playing, you would think I could figure it out. My hand was broke,” said Hayward. "The fact that [the foot] was getting worse was frustrating everybody. We were calling around the country trying to figure it out. Hopefully we did.
“The foot feels a lot better today than it has been. I think we’ve been trying to figure out kind of the cause of the issue. There’s been a lot of nerve pain, it’s something I’ve been dealing with for a while. And then it got kind of to the point where I couldn’t play over the break, which was the weirdest thing because we weren’t doing anything. But it certainly feels a lot better now. I had an injection, so I hit the right spot on that hopefully and we’ll see how it feels [Wednesday].”
Hayward said the first two cortisone shots did not help his pain, but said “hopefully the third time was the charm.” He said team doctors have been trying to administer shots in different spots to alleviate the pain.
Asked if it the pain was centralized to one spot, Hayward said, "A general area, and it’s moved around a little bit, too. Your questions are the same questions I’ve had asking the doctors. I think we figured out something yesterday, so that’s good.”
Hayward expressed concern that the issue is related to his ankle injury in Cleveland from opening night of the 2017-18 season.
"I think it had everything to do with the prior injury,” said Hayward. "I didn’t get hurt on my right foot, so when you have a traumatic event to your foot or your ankle, things are going to change inside of there that you don’t know necessarily because they don’t bug you, but things start to poke their head a little bit if it gets tweaked in some way or another. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s on my left foot.”
Hayward said he definitely felt discomfort after the Cleveland game this year but noted it got worse while not playing — both as he recovered from the hand injury and again after he returned a month later during an extended break in Boston’s schedule.
Hayward hasn’t played since Dec. 12 due to the foot pain. The multiple shots trying to combat the pain have only added to his frustration.
"That’s kind of been the frustrating piece is that we haven’t figured out exactly what the issue is,” said Hayward. “Structurally, my foot is fine. We did all the imaging we needed to do and did it a second time as well. So I hope this cortisone injection works. That’s typically, I’ve been told, what you can do for nerve pain is inject it with cortisone. We tried that two other times … It feels a lot better today.
"Hopefully that’s a sign that we did get it right this time.”
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Raptors, which tips off Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Scal have the call at 12 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.