When Gordon Hayward fell victim to a horrific ankle injury in his first game with the Boston Celtics, many fans assumed the forward would be out until next year.
Even Hayward himself ruled out a return this season in November while praising all of the support he had received in wake of his injury.
“They know I will not be back on the court at all this season, but they have been making sure I have every resource I need and are making me feel like I am part of the team,” Hayward said.
Hayward was recently spotted with the boot off of his leg however, which means the recovery process seems to be going extremely well and it is in fact plausible to see a late return.
In a sit-down with the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, the one-time All-star was optimistic about making a return faster than expected.
“I’m definitely pushing to get back as fast as I can, while making sure that I still have a lot of good years of basketball in me.”
However, the Butler University alum understands that the worst possible thing he could do is rush back and risk re-injury.
“So I’m making sure that if I come back, I’m 1,000 percent confident in myself and my leg,” he told the Globe.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is proud of how hard Hayward has worked, but still doesn’t expect him to fully recover before this season is over.
“We’re certainly not going to put limitations on what he strives to do. That being said, we’re not planning on it,” he insisted.
Luckily for the Celtics, Hayward’s absence hasn’t inflicted as much damage as everyone thought. Boston finds themselves atop the Eastern conference with an incredible record of 23-5 and three games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers(19-8).