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Danny Ainge on Gordon Hayward returning this season: ‘I don’t think so, no’

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on Thursday weighed in on the possibility of Gordon Hayward returning this season. And as the case has been with any such discussions out of Celtics camp, Ainge believes there is virtually no chance Hayward suits up anytime soon.

“I don’t believe that Gordon thinks he’s going to play … I don’t think so, no,” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” program.

Hayward suffered a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia in a gruesome scene in an opening night loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 17. While Hayward has been fully committed to rehabilitation and remained remarkably positive while making modest progress — especially in light of the severity of the injury — it’s been long suspected he would not make an appearance this season.

“I think that Gordon just wants to show everyone when he comes back next year all the work he put in to get back to who he was when he got here, or an even better player than he was when he got hurt,” Ainge said of Hayward’s penchant for documenting his process in rehab.

Ainge also pointed out arguably the obvious when saying Hayward still face a long road back to total recovery.

“He’s not even full weight-bearing on his foot doing anything yet,” Ainge said. “He is on the Alter-G, which is half his body weight, maybe up to 60 percent of his body weight. There’s just a long way to go before he can get on a court.

“And then once he’s 100 percent cleared physically, which he’s not close to that yet, there’s a long process of just getting your mind and your confidence in your foot and overcoming the mental part of it.”