Celtics head coach Brad Stevens says Gordon Hayward will rejoin the team soon but is still ways away from returning to the court.
Hayward, who suffered a Grade III right ankle sprain last month, has spent the past few weeks rehabbing in Massachusetts.
“Rehab seems to be going OK, he feels a little better,” Stevens said. “Still has a pretty significant amount of, you know, I don’t think his gait is perfect yet. Once his gait feels right and becomes perfect, he’s probably on a quicker course to coming back. I think he’ll rejoin us in the bubble at some point soon but he still will be sometime away when he does do that.”
Hayward suffered the injury in Game 1 of the Celtics’ opening-round series against the Sixers. Boston managed to sweep Philadelphia without their starting wing, however, Stevens reminded reporters Sunday after the Celtics’ win over the Raptors that they’re able to pull it off because of the collective effort of his supporting cast.
“Not one person is going to do what he does statistically what he does every night,” Stevens said Sunday. “We have to do it by committee. In the Philly series, Grant (Williams) came off the bench and had big moments. Brad came off the bench, had big moments. Marcus (Smart) was his normal self. Marcus today was unbelievable on both ends and I thought Semi really filled that other spot well today.
“We need another body to throw at all these different guys because they drive it so well so we’re not trying to replace him with one person. We’re going to do our best to play to our strengths.”
Four weeks was Hayward’s initial prognosis, an optimistic timetable set for an injury of that magnitude. Typically, grade III ankle sprains take longer to heal.
Also, the birth of Hayward’s fourth child does come into play here. Robyn Hayward, Hayward’s wife, is due sometime in September. Hayward announced prior to the Celtics’ seeding games in Orlando that he plans to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
Jayson Tatum, who was asked about how the Celtics are succeeding without Hayward in the lineup, says this is not the time to make excuses.
“In this circumstance, we’ve just got to play the cards we were dealt,” Tatum said. “A lot of teams deal with injuries and different things so we can’t make excuses. We’d love to have him. Hopefully, we’ll continue to keep winning and he can come back but in the meantime, we’ve just got the next man up. Guys got to be ready.”
Walker’s ‘Tweaked’ Knee in Game 1
Celtics All-Star guard Kemba Walker tweaked his right knee in Game 1 against the Raptors Sunday. It was a brief but scary moment for Walker and his teammates, however, the Celtics point guard said he felt fine the morning after Boston’s series-opening win.
“Felt good, (it) felt good actually,” Walker said. “Tweaked it a little bit but it’s the nature of the game. It happens. For the moment, it bothered me a little bit but my adrenaline was pumping, a little sore last night but I got some treatment. Doing everything I can to stay on top of it. I felt really good today actually, hopefully, I can continue to feel this way.”
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