The Celtics offseason consisted of losing stars Al Horford and Kyrie Irving, while adding an All-NBA point guard in Kemba Walker. But perhaps the biggest addition to the 2019-20 Celtics could be a fully healthy Gordon Hayward.
Hayward had quite the inconsistent 2018-19 season after returning from his fractured tibia and dislocated left ankle. The 29-year old flashed potential of his all-star days in Utah, but much like the Celtics last season, wasn’t exactly what everyone expected.
Almost two years removed from his gruesome injury, Hayward stayed in Boston for a full, healthy offseason, and is feeling confident heading into the season.
“Been here in Boston all summer,” Hayward told reporters at a Home Court Makeover Program event in Burlington. “Made the decision to be in the facility and work with the staff. My leg feels amazing. The summers here in Boston are beautiful, so my family and I have had a great time. … My leg feels good, so that’s a positive.”
Like Paul George, who suffered a similar injury in 2014, a healthy summer with no restrictions is a big step forward to regaining his old form. And thats where Hayward appears to be at now.
“Back to no restrictions. So that’s felt really nice. Being able to train exactly how I’m used to training, not only having to worry about only doing stuff for 10 minutes or only doing a certain amount of reps. Not having to worry about surgery or anything, too. So it’s been really good from that standpoint.”
Hayward working his way back is great news for the Celtics, especially if a healthy offseason will improve his mindset and production come regular season.
“Reps is what gives you confidence, so being able to do things over and over and over and not worry about how my ankle’s feeling, or having to be cautious with it, has been really good, especially for my confidence,” Hayward said. “I think last year was a lot of hoping and not really knowing what was going to happen just because I didn’t have the reps… going into a summer training as hard as I want to, it’s a lot better for my confidence this year and expectations-wise as well.”