Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward says that he is “basically” 100% eleven months removed from his gruesome 2017-208 season opening-night ankle injury, and has been playing 5-on5 games with teammates to prepare for training camp in October, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
“I would say I’m basically 100 percent,” Hayward said. “There’s certain things that I think are going to take time — even if I was 100 percent healthy, I’m not 100 percent as far as basketball-wise, just because I haven’t played in a year.
“I’m trying to figure those things out. The last step for me as far as from a physical standpoint is a little explosion, that little last juice bounce that you get. So that’s going to take me the longest time. But like I said, for the most part, I feel very good.”
Hayward discussed the latest milestone in his recovery, playing with his teammates again.
“It’s so much fun being able to play again, and play with my teammates,” Hayward described. “Using these past two weeks, and the next month or so, will be good to kind of get back into the game, feel the rhythm, the timing, different things like that. But it feels pretty good.”
“I think when you go through a process like this, you just find out that, if you want to get back to the player that you were, it takes a lot of effort,” said Hayward. “I think you find the fight within yourself because there’s so many days where I wake up and it’s like, ‘Man, here we go again.’ Another day I’m driving in, it’s freezing cold weather here in Boston, below zero, going into the facility, and the team’s in L.A., or they’re in Miami or whatever, and they’re playing, and I’m picking up marbles and putting them into a bucket. I’m standing on one leg and doing balance drills. I’m shooting from a chair.
“Like, all that stuff, to be able to get up and do it every day, and do it a little bit better the next day, and slowly work off getting out of the chair, and getting out of the boot, and now I can stand and shoot, and now I can do one dribble and shoot — and just the long process. I mean, it was a process and a journey. I’m still not there yet, but it just helped me find kind of a fight in me.”
Hayward is ready for the new season and expects to be on the court for the Celtics when the season tips off.
“Yeah, 100 percent I expect to be out there [on opening night],” Hayward proclaimed. “This is what this time is for me — to kind of find my groove a little bit. Like I said, you can do all the drills you want, all the cardio, the jumping [and] agility stuff. But there’s nothing like playing 5-on-5, so when I play out here with my teammates, when we get into practice situations, that’s going to be the best — playing in the preseason games, that will be the best work I can get.”
“Watching the guys last year just gave me a lot of confidence in our team and what I think we have the ability to do,” said Hayward. “I’ve been playing with some of them these last two weeks, and we have a lot of talent on this team. We have a lot of depth, and it’s going to be a fun year.”
Celtics Pick Up Options on Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Guerschon Yabusele
Brown’s fourth-year option guarantees his $6,534,829 cap charge for next season, while Tatum will be locked in for a $7,830,000 cap hit for the 2019-2020 season, both moves considered to be no brainers given their development.
The decision on Yabusele, who hasn’t shown much of anything over 38 games since joining Boston, is a bit more of a surprise, but the Celtics see something in his to warrant their decision to keep him a part of their team moving forward.
Celtics’ Aron Baynes Ruled Out for Game Against Magic
The Boston Celtics will take the court for Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic without the services of center Aron Bynes, who has been officially ruled out due to a hamstring injury, the team officially announced.
Baynes suffered the injury during Saturday’s game against the New York Knicks, a game that saw him get the start for the first time this season, but was only able to play in just 12 minutes of action before the second quarter injury.
Baynes plays in a reserve role behind Al Horford and has scored 7.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game thus far this season.
Celtics’ Terry Rozier Rejected Contract Extension Offer
Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier rejected a contract extension from the team that would have paid him roughly $12 million annually, according to a report from A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
Rozier’s decision to decline the contract offer was a decision made by him and his management team.
“I’m in a great situation,” Rozier said, according to NBC Sports Boston. “My team felt it wasn’t good for me to sign an extension right now. It opens my options a little bit, but I’m focused on what’s happening right now.”
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