BOSTON — Gordon Hayward took yet another step forward in his recovery from a dislocated left ankle injury.
He has now been given the green light to not have to wear a walking boot.
"I feel alright I guess, as well as I could," Hayward told reporters earlier today. "I'm out of the boot right now so that's good, slowly getting better.
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Hayward added, "for now I'm done with the boot. Depending on how things go, I could be back in the boot so we'll see."
While all agree it is progress, there is still no timetable for when - if at all - he will return this season.
Hayward suffered the injury in the season-opener at Cleveland when he landed awkwardly attempting to catch a lob pass in the first quarter.
“He’s had good days, some not so good days,” his agent Mark Bartelstein told NBC Sports Boston. “But he’s attacking the process, focusing on getting better from one day to the next.”
Bartelstein understands every step Hayward takes in his recovery, will be seen by some as a step toward his return to action this season.
Bartelstein reiterated there has been no talk of Hayward returning this season.
“We’re not going to put a limit or cap on Gordon’s progress,” Bartelstein said. “But at the same time, we’re not gonna put a number or date for him to come back, either. Like I said, he’s attacking the process of getting healthier, trying to get better from one day to the next.”
The Celtics have been cautiously optimistic about Hayward’s progress, consistently stating that they have no plans for him to join the team this season.
As much progress as Hayward appears to be making, it’s still unlikely he will heal in time to play this season.
Boston received a disabled players exception for Hayward’s injury that is worth $8.4 million which is the largest DPE in NBA history. They have until March 10, 2018 to use it.
One of the factors contributing to them getting it was a set of independent doctors who determined that it was unlikely Hayward would return to playing by June 15, 2018.
That means for Hayward to be ready in time for the playoffs, he would have to be at least two months ahead of schedule.