Alright, Jazz fans, it’s been over six months that Gordon Hayward announced he’d be leaving our very own Utah Jazz to join his former college coach in Boston. I think the majority of us are over that by now, especially with the rise of rookie Donovan Mitchell. It’s now been three months since Hayward suffered that gruesome leg injury in his season opener. I think it’s safe to say, that while some still may be bitter about him leaving, we are all rooting for his health.
The Celtics have ruled him out for the remainder of the 2017-18 season, however, he has been showing great progress in his recovery. According to ESPN, Hayward has been very limited but has been doing light practicing during his recovery. Celtics coach Brad Stevens even had Hayward attempt a free throw at the end of a team workout to determine if they would engage in a final drill. “The other day I had him shoot a free throw in practice to determine whether we’d do the last drill or not. And he made it, so we didn’t do it. He’s doing all that he can right now.”
His wife even uploaded a video on Instagram showing him getting some shots up.
The Celtics don’t want to rush Hayward’s recovery process and they don’t anticipate him returning this season, but you can only imagine what they’ll think three months from now when the NBA Playoffs arrive. It’s pretty much a lock that the Celtics will go to the Eastern Conference finals, but will he return to the line-up for that series?
If it were up to me, I would play it by ear and use him only if needed. If they make it to the NBA Finals and he was 90% I would insert Hayward into the line-up, but I don’t call the shots, Danny Ainge does.
Several sports analysts are split on whether or not he should return. Stephen A. Smith is against him returning.
Former NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady seems to think otherwise.
What do you think? If close to 100%, should Hayward return or wait until the start of next season?