Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward detailed the reasons for his May surgery to remove hardware from his ankle and said he plans to be full-go for the start of the 2018-19 season in a post to his personal blog on Monday.
In an entry entitled, “Won’t Be Long Now,” Hayward detailed how lingering pain in his surgically repaired left ankle spurred a decision to have the follow-up surgery but stressed how he plans to be playing full-court, 5-on-5 basketball again by the end of July.
“[The follow-up surgery was] not something we were expecting to be a part of this recovery process but I’m happy to report that I’ll be back out there resuming rehab soon, with my sights set firmly on being back to my usual self for the start of next season,” wrote Hayward, who admitted the procedure was deemed “very rare” by his doctors.
Added Hayward: “I’m excited to get back to it. I think at the recovery pace I’m currently on, I’ll probably start running again in July. Once I get started, I’ll be jogging, then running, and then cutting and moving, and all that could happen within one to two weeks of each other, to where by the end of July I am playing full court, 5-on-5 basketball. And that’s probably the most exciting thing I could tell all of you.”
Hayward suffered a season-ending ankle injury five minutes into Boston’s season opener in Cleveland in October. Despite endless speculation about whether he might be able to return, Celtics coach Brad Stevens declared him out in early March and the follow-up surgery came a short time after Boston’s season ended and after Hayward spent much of May rehabbing in his native Indianapolis.
“I was right at the beginning stages of playing real basketball again,” Hayward said of the decision to undergo a second surgery after rehabbing with running specialists in Indianapolis. “In fact, the Friday before I had the surgery, I played 1-on-1 with Brandon Rush in Indianapolis, and felt really good about it. So it was not quite 5-on-5, real basketball, but I was starting to ramp it up and was definitely due to get there in short order, and I was getting really excited about that.”
Hayward wrote about enjoying watching Boston’s postseason run to the cusp of the NBA Finals and said he believes the Celtics should have played for a title last season.
“To have two guys go down for the playoffs and still win two series and come within a game of the Finals, that’s something to be proud of,” said Hayward. “And I still think we should have won the Cleveland series. We just couldn’t throw it in the ocean that last game.”
Now, Hayward’s focus is on the 2018-19 campaign, when the Celtics are expected to add both a healthy Hayward and Kyrie Irving to a team that surged to the cusp of the NBA Finals this season.
“We go into next season with a lot of options, high expectations, and a lot of reason for optimism,” wrote Hayward. “I’ve talked with Kyrie, and I know he is progressing really well, and plans to start training hard pretty soon. We’ve both been itching to rejoin these guys after watching what they did in the postseason.”
And Hayward gushed about the team’s potential after its youngest stars emerged last season.
“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,” wrote Hayward. “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.”
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