Ainge: Hayward close to shedding walking boot as rehab begins


Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday that Gordon Hayward soon will shed his walking boot as he navigates the early stages of rehab from a fractured left ankle suffered in Boston’s season opener in Cleveland.
Hayward’s wife, Robyn, posted a video of a bootless Hayward on Instagram on Wednesday, sparking chatter about Hayward’s progress. During his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub, Ainge said Hayward is “right on schedule,” though neither Hayward nor the Celtics have offered a timetable for his return to basketball activities and both have said he doesn’t expect to play again this season.
“He’s progressing along. He can take the boot off for short periods of time,” Ainge told the “Toucher and Rich" program. “But he's doing really well. His therapy is going great. He's right on schedule. He’s doing sometimes two workouts a day and trying to get stronger. The next phases are getting out of the boot completely, but I still think that he’s a couple weeks away from being permanently out of the boot.”
Ainge was pressed on whether Hayward had expressed a desire to get back on the court this season.
“You know, he hasn’t expressed that. Just knowing professional athletes, I know that down inside he wants to be back faster than anybody has ever been back from this kind of injury. He’s got a competitive streak to him. He’s asking lot of questions, he’s got good people around him. He’s diligent in his rehab.
“I know what’s going on in his mind, but I don’t think he’ll say anything about how fast he wants to get back.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Wednesday night that he hadn’t seen the picture of bootless Hayward but acknowledged his progress as well.
“He wears the boot until a certain time every evening and then he can take it off,” Stevens said. “When he moves around, he can move around with a brace that's like a boot. He is progressing and doing what he can do, what he's been cleared to do. It's been going well. He still wears a boot when he comes over to the gym, he's wearing the boot for most of the day.”