Less than four weeks after undergoing surgery on his left hand, Celtics star Gordon Hayward is back participating in drills at practice and appears to be on track for a quick return to the court — a welcome sign for the 29-year-old who has seemingly battled injury throughout his entire time in Boston.
“He’s able to do non-contact drills,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said on Saturday, via MassLive.com. “And he’ll have another meeting on Monday over FaceTime with his doctor to look at the healing process, discuss what’s next, and then we’ll know more from there.”
Hayward first injured his hand earlier this month after colliding with San Antonio Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge on Nov. 9. He had surgery just days later to repair a fracture to the fourth metacarpal in his left hand, and was expected to miss at least six weeks.
He averaged 18.9 points and 7.1 rebounds through the first eight games of the season.
Hayward has slowly been increasing his activity level over the past few weeks at practices, and says that he’s felt good doing so — even saying that he felt “like I’m ahead of schedule.” He isn’t sure when he’ll be back to full strength, however.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of things that I’m going to have to do — you know, playing contact-wise, making sure that I have some strength in that left hand — before I can put myself out there,” Hayward said Friday. “And luckily we’ll have some practice days coming up that I can kind of work through it a little bit.”
Even though he knows he’s not ready just yet, Stevens said it was great to simply see Hayward participating in practices again.
“I think it’s encouraging obviously,” Stevens said. “It is what it is. We knew it was going to be a while before he was back, but it’s good to see him moving around. It’s good to just have him. They just did a bunch of up and downs, basically 5-on-0 stuff, and he can do some of that, so that’s good.”
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