Everyone in the Boston Celtics organization, from top to bottom, seems to have an opinion on Gordon Hayward’s rehabilitation and potential return date.
On the newest episode of Celtics Beat, Adam Kaufman spoke with Cedric Maxwell about the possibility of a Hayward return this season.
While head coach Brad Stevens continues to insist Hayward won’t play before next season, GM Danny Ainge and Hayward himself have taken a more vague approach.
From his perch broadcasting the games for radio, and his own stellar playing career, Maxwell has some great insight to offer.
“I have not seen him run. I have seen him shoot in the gym. I’ve seen him practice – little shell groups. What I have not seen him do is run. And what I hear when he runs there’s a hitch in his giddy-up,” Maxwell told Kaufman. “Because of that, I’m thinking more-and-more now he will not play for the remainder of the season or even in the playoffs.”
If Hayward still even has the slightest limp, Maxwell is preaching low expectations. Fans need to remember that Hayward’s contract is lucrative and lengthy. The Celtics shouldn’t mortgage their future for one season. However, if all is clear health-wise and it is merely a strength or endurance issue, the Celtics color-commentator takes a different stance.
“But I look at it this way also, let’s go to the flip side: If I had the chance to win a basketball game. And I had eight months or seven months behind me after an injury, and I could have a Gordon Hayward on the bench as my 13th guy?” questioned Max. “I think I would roll the dice, myself.”
Stevens is a master of lineups, and having even a Hayward-caliber shooter at the end of the bench. is exciting. The stationary nature of some of the videos and updates coming out of his camp are worrisome. However, Maxwell, who holds two rings himself, measures things by championships
“If you can pull anything out to win the championship… I would hate to have that card out there and not play it.”
Bottom line: Max isn’t ruling out a return, but he isn’t expecting one, either.
“Starting to believe he will not play, but I’m not sold.”