Gordon Hayward was a huge addition to the Boston Celtics ahead of the 2017-18 NBA season. He didn’t even make it through one game, however. Just five minutes into the season opener against Cleveland, the 6-foot-8 forward fractured his left ankle after landing awkwardly on an alley-oop attempt.
On Thursday, Hayward declared that he’s fully recovered and has been playing 5-on-5 games with teammates, preparing for Boston’s training camp later this month. He met with the media and expressed how excited he is to finally get back on the court.
“I would say I’m basically 100 percent,” Hayward told reporters. “There’s certain things that I think are going to take time — even if I was 100 percent healthy, I’m not 100 percent as far as basketball-wise, just because I haven’t played in a year. I’m trying to figure those things out. The last step for me as far as from a physical standpoint is a little explosion, that little last juice bounce that you get. So that’s going to take me the longest time. But like I said, for the most part, I feel very good.”
Hayward hoped to return last season, but a follow-up surgery was needed in May to remove the plate and screws that were implanted in his fibula during the original surgery. Without him, the Celtics made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost in seven to Cleveland. With LeBron James no longer in Cleveland and now in Los Angeles, Boston is favored to win the East.
And Hayward plans to be a big part of that run. As always, he’ll do so playing for a larger purpose.
“I am playing for the glory of God,” Hayward told the Baptist Messenger in 2015. “It makes life easier. It takes a lot of pressure off of you. My inspiration first and foremost always has to be God. I play every game for Him and after that my inspiration is my family.”
Hayward grew up in a home that made church a priority, and his mother, Judy, often texts him before games with a simple message: “Remember Who you play for.”
Hayward is leading his own home now, and it’s growing each year. He and his wife, Robyn, have two daughters (Charlotte and Bernadette) and are expecting a third girl in January.
If he seems less than enthused in the video, Hayward explains what was going through is head here. Regardless, he’s thrilled to be back on the court.
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