Gordon Hayward's Boston Celtics career didn't get off to the start he wanted at all. Only five minutes into his regular-season debut, he suffered a gruesome leg injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers and had to have surgery.
While the Celtics are holding out hope he could potentially return for the start of the playoffs or the end of the regular season, no target date for his return to the court has been set.
However, Hayward has been working hard to stay in top shape as he rehabs his leg injury, and has been doing what he can do in the gym.
On Tuesday, the star forward said that not being able to stand actually helped him work on different aspects of his game. In fact, in an interview with For The Win, he said he's actually added some moves that he's seen from Boston point guard Kyrie Irving to his repertoire:
“For the first month and a half, I wasn’t able to stand on my foot, so I did a lot of stuff out of a chair,” he told For The Win on Tuesday. “So just like around the rim, different spins and flicks you can do, kind of the stuff Kyrie Irving does naturally. I’ve been able to work on the left hand with passing out of a chair. In the weight room, it’s a lot of range of motion stuff like stretching and mobility, things that I definitely needed to do on my right leg.”
From what it sounds like, Hayward expects to be an even better player when he returns to the court, which would be scary for Boston's opponents, especially with how well the Celtics have played in his absence.
Hayward is no longer in a walking boot, but he still has a long rehab process ahead of him. He cautioned Celtics fans against thinking he'd be back soon:
“It’s definitely a long process,” he said. “People see me coming out of a boot [and think] that I’m about to play in the next month. That’s definitely far from the truth. I’m right on schedule, where the Celtics want me to be.”
For now, Irving and the Celtics are doing just fine without him. They currently have the best record in the Eastern Conference at 26-7, leading the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers by 2.5 games. Obviously, they'd love to have Hayward back sooner rather than later, but they're in a position where the star forward doesn't have to rush back to the court, which is always a good thing.