Gordon Hayward posted a story on his website Thursday detailing the progress he has made over the past few weeks as he recovers from the ankle injury he suffered on opening night in Cleveland.
The post provided fans an update in his progress and also a look into his workout routine as well as his thought process in watching the Celtics play. Hayward has only gone to a few games at the TD Garden, with the first one against the Golden State Warriors.
“That first game back at the Garden was really tough. That was basically the first time I had been out of the house, in the public. My foot was throbbing the whole game, but I wanted to try to get to a game, and I knew it was a big one for us. It was difficult to sit there and watch, because the crowd was going crazy, and as a basketball player, you want to be a part of that.”
Hayward went to the Celtics’ matchup against his former team in the Utah Jazz, and said in the post that he plans to go to a lot more now that he is out of his walking boot and wearing a brace.
After talking about himself for a bit, Hayward went into how he thought his teammates were playing, and his prospective is interesting to read.
On the Celtics’ depth:
“Marcus Smart is somebody who doesn’t necessarily fill up the stat sheet every single night from a scoring standpoint, but from hustle, from leadership, defensively from scrapping, he can win. He has won multiple games with that alone. Terry Rozier coming in as a backup guy, with Kyrie going down earlier in the season for a couple of games, did a tremendous job running the show, and is extremely good coming off the bench. That play he made the other night — incredible.
The same thing can be said for Shane Larkin. And to me, he is doing one of the most difficult things to do in the NBA. To be a third-string type guy — where you don’t necessarily play every single night, but then, when Coach calls on you, you have to be ready to come in and contribute — that’s tough. But he has won games for us with his energy and shot-making off the bench.
Ditto for Daniel Theis, another guy that doesn’t necessarily get consistent minutes. Some games he plays a lot; some games he doesn’t play at all. But every time he comes in, you feel like he is being productive, contributing. He’s just solid every time.”
On Kyrie Irving:
“Of course, Kyrie has been incredible, especially his play down the stretch in games, and in the fourth quarter. 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.”
On Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum:
“You can’t say enough about those two young guys and their poise in some of these situations they’ve been put in.
When you’re that young and playing a key role in the NBA, it is really easy to try to go really fast, and do too much, and maybe force some things sometimes. But they are really playing within the system, being aggressive when they need to be aggressive, while also kind of letting Kyrie and Al do their thing and lead the team. At the same time, you can see the talent. When they are called upon, they rise up. And the stuff that they can do will blow you away sometimes. They both are just really talented for being such young basketball players.
And because of the structure of the team, both of those guys are in a good situation.”
Hayward then went into some detail about his home life, and how he’s been playing video games, especially Destiny and Destiny 2, to hang out with friends and pass the time. It’s good to see Hayward progressing in his recovery and that he is in good spirits. If I can speak for every Celtics fan out there, we can’t wait to see him back on the floor and seeing his hard work pay off.