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Brad Stevens has said it so often, he probably has a built-in hot key at the ready.
Asked again Saturday morning at shootaround for the Boston Celtics’ game against the Houston Rockets tonight about whether Gordon Hayward will return to the court this season, the Boston coach didn’t hesitate to answer.
“He’s not playing this year. I don’t know what else to say,” Stevens, who has fielded an increased amount of questions about Hayward’s progress in recent weeks, told reporters.
Brad Stevens with his most definitive “he’s not playing this year” in regard to Gordon Hayward at shootaround this morning. pic.twitter.com/HxBr69ssXj
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) March 3, 2018
Friday, the Players’ Tribune posted a video highlighting Hayward’s rehabilitation from a fractured left ankle. Hayward was injured five minutes into the season-opening game against Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena.
Hayward then tweeted the video along with the caption, “Patience. One goal,” which hinted more details would be coming regarding his rehab. The video shows Hayward getting a bit of lift on his jump shot during workouts.
The road back with @GordonHayward.
Coming soon. pic.twitter.com/Rp4GT8zDkB
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) March 2, 2018
“Did he dunk?” Stevens deadpanned when informed by reporters this was the first time video of Hayward jumping had been seen.
“He’s progressing, yes. He did another alter-G [treadmill] workout this morning,” Stevens said. “He’s up to 60 percent of his weight on the alter-G. If you’ve ever run on the alter-G, that feels like you’re flying without your legs touching the ground. It’s great.
“And I think the videos are great, too. Because, like, it continues to show the progress. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of that long rehab, you don’t feel the progress of the day to day the way now we all might see a video or somebody that hasn’t seen him may seen a video and say, ‘Man, he really is getting better.’ But he’s a super long way away from even being on 1-on-0 workout where he’s cutting.”
As the session with reporters ended, one joked with Stevens, asking him if he should request another update on Hayward’s status Sunday.
A reporter playfully asked if we should ask Stevens for another update on Sunday.
“Yeah, check back tomorrow,” Stevens shot back, before jokingly adding, “He’ll be doubtful Monday.”