Monday, November 6 – Celtics at Hawks
Pregame: Hayward Will Travel with the Team This Season
ATLANTA – Gordon Hayward will rejoin the Boston Celtics at some point this season.
Just not in the capacity that many might hope.
Brad Stevens indicated prior to Monday night’s matchup with the Hawks in Atlanta that the swingman will indeed be a member of the traveling party once doctors clear him to travel.
“We’re really trying to stay active in [keeping him involved] in our communications with him while we’re on the road, and constantly seeing him when we’re at home,” said Stevens. “And then once he can come to games, both on the road and at home, he will be more visible to everyone else, because it’s just a matter of health right now. They don’t want him traveling yet. They don’t want him sitting on the bench yet.”
Stevens was answering a question regarding the mental side of Hayward’s comeback. The coach clearly displays a passion toward the subject anytime he discusses keeping his former college star and new Celtics star feeling like he’s a part of the team as he rehabilitates his injured left ankle.
“Engagement is really important,” the coach said. “The reality is he’s first and foremost a human being, and there is a physical aspect to recovery, but there’s also an emotional aspect to recovery, and there’s an emotional aspect to being a part of the team. You don’t want to come back – when you come back – and not have been engaged with everyone, for a number of reasons, but mostly so he continues to feel involved.”
Currently, Hayward has been restrained to shooting out of a chair on the court, working with the coaching staff on scouting opponents, and mentoring Boston’s plethora of young and talented players.
Sooner or later, that role is going to drastically change – and in a good way. Hayward, at some point, is going to rejoin the team on a day-to-day basis, both at home and on the road. Doing so will surely uplift his spirits more than anything other than his eventual return to the court.
– Marc D’Amico