Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Ainge says Hayward, Irving are ready to go 'full speed' even before start of training camp

John Tomase
August 28, 2018 - 8:18 am

If you're wondering exactly when Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving will be healthy enough to play without restriction, Danny Ainge has some surprisingly good news: how about right now?

Speaking to ESPN's Chris Forsberg on Monday, Ainge said that Hayward and Irving are ready to go, nearly a month before training camp opens on Sept. 26.

"I don't want to hype it up too much, but I'm saying that if our training camp were starting today that they would be here today going full speed," Ainge said. "It's not like they need an extra month. I think that they know they have an extra month, so they are sort of pacing themselves. They're playing as if to build up to that opening day of training camp."

Hayward has spent nearly a year rehabbing the broken leg that ended his 2017 season after five minutes. Irving, meanwhile, has been sidelined since March because of multiple knee surgeries.

Players are expected to start arriving in Boston within a week for informal games of 5 on 5.

"By the time Labor Day is over, they will all be playing 5-on-5," Ainge told ESPN. "I think it's just a matter of, if they're not playing 5-on-5 now, then it's only because they want it more of a controlled environment, I guess. They're doing everything -- dunking the basketball off both legs and playing one-on-one live and jumping and cutting and defending. I'm excited for them."

Optimism abounds for a Celtics club that advanced to Game 7 of last year's Eastern Conference Finals without Irving and Hayward, and before LeBron James left the East to join the Lakers.