Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Gordon Hayward goes through recovery process, praises teammates

Ty Anderson
December 22, 2017 - 4:20 pm

An aptly titled blog on Celtics forward Gordon Hayward's official website says it all: The 27-year-old, now out of a walking boot and off crutches, is improving every day.

Taken out for (presumably) the season on a gruesome fall on opening night, Hayward took to his website to detail some of the work he's muscled through in his rehab process, and with obvious improvements in his status over that span.

In a rehab heavy on balance and exercises to stabilize his foot and ankle, Hayward has found progress, and has done his part to keep up his weight and conditioning training.

But perhaps most importantly, Hayward has returned to the floor, and has been able to start shooting without the help of the chair he required when first starting.

“At the end of the workout, I go to the basketball court and do as much basketball work as I can. I’ve recently started to do some stuff standing up, so I don’t have to use the chair to shoot anymore,” Hayward, away from the game for over two months now, wrote. “I can just shoot with the boot on, staying straight up. It’s non-movement stuff for now, but I can handle the basketball just standing straight up and do different drills.”

This is an obviously huge step in Hayward’s recovery, and with the timeline seeming as accelerated as it’s been, seems to be one of the reasons why nobody is necessarily shutting the door when it comes to Hayward potentially rejoining the C’s this season.

He’s already taken note of that team’s potential, and where head coach Brad Stevens has slotted everybody for their maximum potential in Hayward’s absence.

“When you watch us play, it feels like we are really deep. I can’t name one person that would stand out over everybody because I feel like I could talk about all of them, and say how they have all made contributions during different times throughout the season,” wrote Hayward. “Stevens is putting guys in the right position and they are all buying into the system. That’s what he’s best at: putting guys in positions to be successful, and guys are playing their role, and doing what they can do, not trying to force it.”

And talking about the Celtics’ success isn’t complete without mentioning Kyrie Irving.

“Kyrie has been incredible, especially his play down the stretch in games, and in the fourth quarter,” Hayward said. “He seems to have an ability to take over the game. And his finishing around the rim is something that is really special. He routinely makes layups over people. It doesn’t matter who it is. He just makes it look so easy. And those are extremely difficult shots.

“People don’t understand how difficult it is to make those types of finishes. He can put spins on the ball with either hand, with his body facing whatever direction, over 7-footers, over athletic wings. It doesn’t matter. He has the great shooting ability, being able to shoot threes, and come off screens and hit jumpers and floaters too. But the finishing is something that — I know a lot of people already knew that — but for me, to be able to see it firsthand is definitely something that is incredible.”

The Celtics still will not put an official timetable on Hayward's return, but it's clear that this is as involved -- from training, to scouting, and just generally being part of the team -- that Hayward has been since he first went down. 

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