BOSTON — Boston Celtics assistant coach Scott Morrison said Gordon Hayward has been in the gym every day for the past six weeks, taking advantage of the offseason that evaded him last year when Hayward was recovering from a second ankle surgery.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has been fueling the Hayward offseason hype train in recent weeks and Morrison confirmed the encouraging early returns.
"Gordon looks great,” said Morrison, who is coaching the team’s summer squad this year but also works with Hayward during his morning workouts. "This will be the fifth or sixth week we’ve been going every day. We’ve got a pretty intense weight program three or four days a week; he’s on the court five days a week.
"He’s getting stronger, getting faster, getting leaner, and, from a basketball perspective, it’s hard to test things like that, but I think he looks pretty good. His shot and ball-handling is a lot crisper. He’s just hungry to get better. I don’t want to speak for him but I’m very happy with the effort and progress that he’s putting in.”
Hayward underwent a follow-up surgery on his injured ankle in late May 2018 to remove plate and screws that had been inserted in his fractured fibula after his opening-night injury. That recovery sapped two months of basketball activities for Hayward and he always looked like he was still playing catchup for much of the 2018-19 season.
After some promising glimpses late last season and in the first round against the Pacers, there is hope that Hayward can be an even more consistent presence for the Celtics next season. It might ultimately be one of the keys if this team hopes to remain competitive despite their offseason defections.
"I think Gordon is going to have a great year. He's putting in as much work as anybody and we get to see it,” Ainge said last month. "I mean, he's here a lot. I'm very excited for Gordon's upcoming year.”
Previously, Ainge noted, "I’m really excited for Gordon’s upcoming season. He’s working hard right now in the gym. He’s here every day with five or six coaches and bodies out there working extremely hard. He’s put a lot of time in. I’m anticipating great things from Gordon this next year.”
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