Could Celtics forward Gordon Hayward make it back into the Boston lineup this season?
Team General Manager Danny Ainge has been his enigmatic self about the Celtics superstar’s recovery all season. Earlier today, he made the prospect of Hayward’s an even darker shade of gray.
According to the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, Ainge clarified (or equivocated—depending on how one read’s the GM’s public statements) his comments from earlier this week describing a setback in Haywards recovery.
”You know what? Sometimes I talk too much,” said Ainge. “‘Setback’ wasn’t the right word, so let me rephrase that because it’s not exactly true to say it -- or say it that way.
“What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness. It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn’t ready for it at that point. That’s all it was.
“So I think ‘setback’ is the wrong way to put it. I mis-phrased that. I’m not sure what the right word is, but he wasn’t ready for that. So we waited a couple of weeks before we started that again, and since we started that again it’s been great and he’s progressed along on the AlterG. That’s all. It wasn’t like he had an accident or anything like that.
As has been the routine all season, take any Hayward recovery news with the prescribed dose of salt. Ainge reiterated that the team does not plan to play the star forward this season. Still, it’s hard not to speculate about what Hayward could bring to the Celtics lineup, even on a minutes restriction.
Don’t expect any rash decisions from Ainge regarding Hayward’s return.
Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown continue to progress through recovery
Bulpett’s report from New Orleans also included news about guard Kyrie Irving (knee soreness) and swingman Jaylen Brown (concussion). Boston opted to hold Irving out against the Pelicans today, while Brown continues to hit checkpoints on his way through the NBA’s concussion protocol according to coach Brad Stevens.
Again from the Herald:
“He’s doing good through his progressions so far,” Stevens said. “Still has a few days left. Don’t see how he’ll play Tuesday [in Boston against Oklahoma City] either, but from everything I’ve heard, we’re getting closer. But that’s all pending no setback.”
The Celtics have played short-handed for a week now, but in spite of a tough stretch remain in good standing. Though they sit at second place in the East, five games back from the red hot Toronto Raptors, they are 6.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Irving and Brown returning soon, Boston could recover nicely through their last dozen games.