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’ Kyrie Irving Credits Team Meeting for Spark
The loss to Milwaukee back on December 21st was the Celtics’ 3rd in a row and dropped their record to 18-13 on the season.
“We could pinpoint a lot of turning points,” Irving said, according to Jay King of The Athletic.
“We just want to build that chemistry first. Just getting with one another (after the Bucks loss), really put everything out there and then move on from that point. At that point, playing against Milwaukee, we weren’t at rock bottom, but we needed to address some shit in this locker room. It’s just good to get stuff out in the air.”
Irving believes in this team’s chances this season, despite the early struggles.
“We’re not on a good team, we’re on a great one,” Irving said. “We have the talent to be great.”
Celtics’ Aron Baynes Out 4-6 Weeks After Surgery
Baynes broke his hand during the Celtics’ recent loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Baynes has posted 5.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for Boston this season.
Celtics Targeting Pelicans’ Anthony Davis
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics have had an interest in Davis for a long time:
“Boston has been hawking Anthony Davis for years. They always hoped that it would be—whether it’s the end of this season or the beginning of next before the trade deadline—that they would gather up all those assets, all those picks Danny Ainge has, young players, and they’d be the team to be able to get Anthony Davis.”
“But now you have L.A., and if they get shut out in free agency, they’re going to have to take all their young players to try to use them to get Anthony Davis.”
Davis is averaging 28 points, 12.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.8 blocks per game for the Pelicans this season.
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