Danny Ainge confirms obvious: Gordon Hayward ‘not playing’ in postseason
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, despite what arguably should be a lack of need to do so, confirmed the obvious Thursday morning by stating Gordon Hayward will not be rejoining the team during the postseason.
“No. He’s not playing,” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “He’s just not there yet. He’s not doing the sprints and explosion and lateral movements at basketball speed yet. He needs to be doing that for quite a while before he gets out on the court and plays in an NBA playoff game.”
Given the situation, Ainge having to even remark on Hayward’s status for the playoffs should not even be necessary. That said, Ainge did note that Hayward continues to make encouraging strides in his rehab after being lost for the season on opening night after dislocated ankle and fractured tibia in a gruesome scene.
“No, I think he’s on schedule, and I’m not concerned,” Ainge said. “He’s making great progress. It’s just — we’re not taking any chances. You just can’t strap a guy up coming off of surgery like that who hasn’t played — we’re just not going to do that.”
Among the more recent and positive developments concerning Hayward’s recovery was footage posted to social media in which Hayward is shown running on the court.
While encouraging, it should hardly change the outlook that the 28-year-old won’t be suiting up with the Celtics until next fall, making Ainge’s clarifying remarks this week arguably unneeded.
Ainge presumably is being extra cautious with his comments on Hayward due to the fact he caused some controversy earlier this season by saying Hayward had suffered a setback in his recovery as a result of “progressing a little too fast.”
Ainge later clarified exactly when he meant with the setback comments. Still, the Celtics have been wise to exercise extreme caution with Hayward.
Meanwhile, the undermanned Celtics will attempt to go up 2-0 on the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night at TD Garden in its Eastern Conference semifinal series.