Gordon Hayward insists he's focused on his recovery and isn't thinking about whether or not he'll return this season.

But he admits "the hope is still there" that he'll play for the Celtics this season.

"The hope is still there," admitted Hayward, who suffered a dislocated ankle in the first five minutes of the season opener. "It's something where I'm really, honestly not even thinking about it. I know we're getting toward the end of the year, so it's something I'm still working for. But if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen."

At the moment, however, he says he's thinking only about what it takes to get better.

"My thoughts are that I take it day-by-day," he said. "And I said . . . from the very beginning, that's what I would do. Not putting a timetable on it. Recovery's going well and progressing well. Was in the facility this morning, will be in the facility tomorrow, and that's kind of my goal. Just really focusing day by day . . . 

"Mentally's the biggest challenge out of all of it. I've been blessed to have the Celtics provide such a great training staff, have my trainer from Indianapolis come and be with me this whole time as well and blessed to have a family to help me get through it. I have a wife and two little ones. Going home to them makes it a lot better."

But even he's not thinking about whether he'll return, others are.

"Thousands of times," he said with a smile when asked if he's been asked about whether or not he'll come back. "Every single time I go out, people ask how's my ankle, am I coming back? So I get it all the time."