Gordon Hayward shared a video Friday of a workout that looked startlingly basketball-ish. This, you can imagine, has led to a fresh round of speculation about whether Hayward could return to the court this season, something that seemed absolutely impossible with his leg looking like a wet noodle on October 17:
Yahoo’s Chris Mannix said Hayward’s ankle still looked swollen and “purpleish” at the All Star break—unless you are that one purple Monstar, this is generally not how you want your ankle described. Still! Though one of the six words in the caption is “patience,” that video undeniably shows Hayward doing some dang basketball, an incredibly encouraging sign so soon after such a devastating injury.
But lest anyone get carried away, Celtics coach Brad Stevens today put the full, definitive kibosh on any hope that Hayward would return this season, offering an unqualified no when asked point blank:
That’s not we’re not planning on seeing him out there this year or we do not expect him to play this year, that’s a hard, certain nope. But that doesn’t mean Boston will go without reinforcements—the Celtics have won four in a row since the return of Marcus Smart from a month-long absence, after losing three straight leading up to his return.. They and he will get their toughest test yet Saturday night, when the team plays at Houston. The Celtics lost nine of 15 between mid-February and the start of their current win streak, including losses to the 76ers, Raptors, Pacers, and Cavs, all teams they might have to face in the playoffs. Along they way they ceded the top seed in the Eastern Conference to the Raptors. Now just a game back of Toronto, there’s plenty of time to flip the order again and reclaim the top spot, but they will for sure have to do all of it without Gordon Hayward. Unless....!