Gordon Hayward's injury nightmare is almost over and will be ready for the start of next season, the Boston Celtics have confirmed.
The All-Star underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove a plate and screws in his broken left leg, which is one of the final steps he required before he returns to the court.
According to the team, Hayward is "scheduled to return to basketball activities in six to eight weeks, and is expected to be at full strength for the start of training camp."
The former Utah Jazz man missed the entire season after suffering a gruesome leg break just minutes into his league debut with the Celtics after signing as a free agent.
There was a faint hope that the small forward would return depending on how far Boston went into the playoffs but there was never a realistic chance of him stepping back on the court and being rushed back.
The plan for the franchise was always to take a cautious approach and look to have him back at 100 percent for the 2018-19 campaign.
Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports reported earlier in the week that Hayward has been making significant progress in his rehab and was even playing one-on-one.
But the C's had never given a specific timetable for his return until now as they've announced he'll be ready for pre-season with his teammates.
The 28-year-old signed a max contract with the Celtics last summer, and after the team soon acquired Kyrie Irving afterwards in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston entered the year with legitimate championship hopes.
Irving was ruled out for the entire playoffs after having season-ending knee surgery but the team still managed to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals where they were beaten in Game 7 by LeBron James and the Cavs.
The Celts defied the odds as they still came within a win of the NBA Finals despite missing their two best offensive players.
That's given the fans increased optimism that they'll win the east next season when the pair return and play alongside their extremely talented young core.
The like of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier blossomed in the playoffs and proved that they can take on extra responsibility and are not fazed by the big stage.
Boston is primed to dominate the east for years to come and they'll have a new sense of determination to start next season with a star-studded roster at their disposal.
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