Gordon Hayward’s return to the Boston Celtics remains a hot topic of discussion, with the C's insisting they plan to have him back next season while Hayward has continued to do all he can to make his return a speedy one.
The next step in a possible return this season involves Hayward traveling with the team which according to head coach Brad Stevens, is not imminent.
“It doesn’t look like it’s any time in the next couple of weeks,” Stevens told reporters.
Between now and then, Hayward will continue his rehabilitation program which includes the use of an Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill which helps athletes in terms of conditioning in a non or limited, weight-bearing capacity.
“He’s gonna do another Alter-G starting on Sunday where he goes from 60 percent of his body weight all the way to 100,” Stevens said. “Once he can do stuff where he is running or jumping, then it makes (sense) to bring him on the road.”
Hayward suffered a dislocated left ankle injury five minutes into Boston’s season-opener at Cleveland on Oct. 17. Shortly after the injury, the Celtics anticipated him not returning this season, a position that was confirmed by them being granted a disabled player exception which is awarded in part because independent doctors determined that the injury would “likely” keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.
But Hayward has been aggressive in rehabbing from the injury to the point where there’s still a slim glimmer of hope that he may be able to return this season.
Only two NBA players have had their NBA 2K19 ratings revealed so far: LeBron James and Jayson Tatum.
Despite having just one season under his belt, NBA 2K19 awarded the 20-year-old with an 87-overall.
While James, the cover athlete of the game’s 20th Anniversary Edition, earned a 98-overall, Tatum’s 87-overall is higher than many anticipated and a ten-point jump from his initial rating as a rookie.
Tatum responded to the rating by quote tweeting the eye emojis (on World Emoji Day no less).
Tatum fell short of Rookie of the Year honors, but averaging 18.5 points per game in the playoffs and helping lead the Celtics to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals clearly made an impression on the game developers.
The forward's 87 is the same rating given to 2018 All-Stars such as Bradley Beal and Draymond Green at the end of last season, and higher than All-Stars like Al Horford and Kyle Lowry.
No other Celtics’ ratings have been revealed thus far, but Kyrie Irving, who finished last season at a 93, is likely to be the team’s highest-rated player.
Ratings are revealed periodically up until the game’s early-release date on September 7.
The Boston Celtics' transformation from contenders to pretenders and back again has drawn the praise of fans and rivals alike.
That praise continued to rain down on Sunday as Brett Brown, coach of the rival 76ers, lauded Boston’s team, Danny Ainge, and company.
“When you’re designing a team, when you’re thinking about the things you have to do from a coaching standpoint, when you’re forward-thinking about matchups, how can you not think about the Boston Celtics?” Brown told the Boston Herald. “I’ve said many times and I’ll say it again, the partnership that Brad (Stevens) and Danny (Ainge) have is fantastic.”
“And for all of my years in Philadelphia, you’re always looking over your shoulder at what Boston is doing. I think in many ways they are a benchmark type of program for me, and I’m always thinking about how ultimately do you beat them.”
While the 76ers exceeded expectations last season, the Celtics eliminated Philadelphia in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
With LeBron James moving west, many feel the race for Eastern Conference supremacy is shaping up to be a battle between the two long-time rivals, both of whom have young cores, for the foreseeable future.