As Gordon Hayward closes in on a comeback for the Boston Celtics, it's not just their fans who are excited by his return.
There is a real sense of anticipation within the Celtics locker room too as his teammates can't wait to see him back on the floor.
The 28-year-old suffered a horrible ankle injury just five minutes into his debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers last season and has endured a long recovery process.
But after almost 12 months of rehab, the small forward is finally healthy again and will take full part in the team's training camp later this month.
Elevating the Celtics
Al Horford believes his presence will add another dimension to Boston as he's a player capable of doing many things on the court.
The veteran big man is hoping the former Utah Jazz star can show people just how good he is this season.
“People have some idea, but I don’t think they realise how good Gordon really is," he told Taylor Snow of celtics.com.
"He can do so many things on the floor. He just does it all. I think he’s going to really open the game up and make people better.”
The C's will allow the All-Star time to get back to his best and overcome the physical and mental challenges that he'll face after such a gruesome injury.
But they'll ultimately expect him to play a major role in their pursuit of a championship.
He signed a four-year, $128 million contract with Boston last summer and was looking forward to competing for a title.
The Indianapolis native will be keen to make up for lost time and will be part of an impressive roster.
Without him and Kyrie Irving, the Celtics still managed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals as their young stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier stepped up to the plate.
Because of that trio, along with Hayward and Kyrie returning and Marcus Smart re-signing, the Celts are the favourites to win the east.
When you add veteran Horford to that mix, they have one of the deepest and most talented teams in the league.
Hayward will be the X-factor on this team as his production can make all the difference, especially if he recaptures the form he showed in his last season in Utah.
In the 2016-17 campaign, he averaged a career-high 21.9 points per game, along with 5.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.
Expectations are very high in Beantown as the Celtics can produce something special this year.
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