It’s been exactly one year since Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome leg injury in his first game as a member of the Boston Celtics. Hayward will return to action in the Celtics season opener on Tuesday night at the TD Garden. But though he is back on the court, Hayward is still far from the player he was prior to suffering the injury.
“The one thing that has been a little concerning, but I don’t wanna say surprising, is Gordon Hayward,” Himmelsbach told Kaufman. “He just has not looked like an All-Star right now. And right now, he’ll tell you as much. He’ll say ‘Oh I’m not quite there yet’ and obviously his back is bothering him a little bit right now. Not only is he recovering from his ankle injury, he’s recovering from not playing basketball for an entire year. So it might just be that he’s gotta get some cobwebs off from that and within a couple of weeks he gets his wind back and he’s totally fine and looks like [the old Gordon]. But right now, he doesn’t.”
Hayward spent all of last season and the entire offseason recovering from a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle. A second surgery in March slowed his recovery considerably. He only began playing 5 on 5 basketball a few weeks ago.
“If you think about how far along he’s come and what he was doing one year ago, even one month after the injury, it’s pretty remarkable to think about [what he’s doing now], His shot still looks good in practice, even [during] the preseason games his passing still looks great.
“But he’s not quite himself, and it doesn’t seem like he has that explosiveness just yet. [Again], it could come back a week from now, or it wouldn’t stun me if during these preseason games he was feeling it out a little bit and then the real games start and he kicks it up another notch, thinking about ramping it up a little bit.”
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