For NBA players, the summer can be a time for reflection and forecast. For Gordon Hayward, the valley between last year and next is wider than most. After suffering a season-ending injury just five minutes into his brand new max contract on his new team, he’s spent the last eight months just digging himself out of the hole that his broken ankle buried him in. He’s now nearing the level he was at pre-injury and is looking forward to joining a Celtics team that wasn’t just a game away from The Finals, but a core of young players that gained valuable experience in his absence.
In his blog, he titled his latest entry “Won’t Be Long Now.” He starts by chronicling a small setback in his recovery and describes in detail how he felt pain in his ankle and eventually, removed the metal plate and screws that were causing discomfort. Here’s a snippet:
Honestly, I look it as a good thing more than anything, because when you introduce foreign objects into your body, anything can happen at any time. Sometimes your body rejects it or things happen; you get infections, and it could happen a year or years down the road. So it’s nice to know that I’m done with the plate and screws now, and that is not something I am going to have to worry about in the future.
They said the surgery went really well, and now I just have to let the incision (and my soft tissue in the places where they went in) recover properly. But that is a really easy recovery. And in probably four to six weeks I will be right back to the point where I was before I got the surgery, except for I won’t have that same pain.
So while having to go through that was pretty rare, things happen. Now we move on.
For context, Kyrie Irving had to deal with an infection stemming from hardware in his surgically repaired knee that would eventually end his first season in Boston. With Hayward signed to at least two more seasons with the Celtics, it’s good that they eliminated that potential setback from the future.
Hayward mentions playing one-on-one with NBA journeyman Brandon Rush as part of his rehab, but the real excitement will be when he starts playing alongside his Celtics teammates. He closes his blog with:
Even before last season, just being around guys like Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown through training camp, I thought those guys were really good, and it was just going to be a matter of gaining experience for them. Now they have gained really, really valuable experience, and I think it just makes us even better next year.
It will almost be like a pick-your-poison type deal, especially if somebody is not having their best game. You’ve got three, four, even five other guys that can pick it up for you, and that is a good problem to have. You can never have too many options, and we’ve got a coach in Brad Stevens who knows how to put everyone in a position to be successful better than anyone. I know he will be able to figure it out.
I also know that there isn’t going to be any ego. The guys that we have on the team, we want to win a title. And if everyone has that mindset, then nothing else matters.
We’re all itching for next season to start, but I can’t imagine that there’s nobody that wants training camp to start more than Gordon Hayward.