Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Gordon Hayward still thinks he can return this season: 'The hope is there'

Alex Reimer
March 09, 2018 - 1:52 pm

Last week, Celtics coach Brad Stevens squashed the dream of Gordon Hayward returning to the court this season. But apparently Hayward didn’t get the message.

The star forward was at Celtics’ practice Friday and spoke with reporters about his recovery. The Players’ Tribune recently released video clips of an athletic-looking Hayward doing shooting drills, ramping up speculation about a miraculous playoff return.

Hayward was unequivocal about his return date in his media session. 

“I take it day by day,” he said to reporters, including ESPN's Chris Forsberg. “I said from the very beginning that’s what I would do –– not putting a timetable on it. Recovery is going well. I’m progressing well. I was in the facility this morning. I will be in the facility tomorrow. And that’s sort of my goal. Taking it day by day.”

Ever since Hayward dislocated his ankle on Opening Night, the Celtics have been steadfast in their insistence that he’ll be out for the duration of the season. Still, Hayward says he’s not ruling it out. 

“The hope is still there. It’s something where I’m really honestly not even thinking about it,” he said.

Perhaps Hayward is using his optimistic outlook as a way to motivate himself during his recovery. But ultimately, the Celtics, who paid $128 million to sign Hayward, will make the final call. Logic says they will want to protect their asset. But until that time comes, Hayward is free to dream –– even if it creates additional headaches for Stevens and members of the Celtics brass. 

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