Celtics

7 things Gordon Hayward said at his first Celtics press conference since his injury

Gordon Hayward spoke to the media in an official Celtics press conference on Thursday morning — his first since going down with what is presumed to be a season-ending injury during the team’s season opener.

As he had previously covered in a blog post and an interview on NBC’s ‘Today’ show, Hayward discussed his emotions from the night of the injury as well as what has transpired since.

Here’s what he had to say at the press conference:

On his reaction to the injury: “I was obviously just devastated. I felt like I had put in so much work to get ready for this season … Made a pretty tough decision to come here to Boston to play, one that I still definitely don’t regret by any means. But I wanted it to go differently for my first game as a Celtic. So just devastated, I guess, that I wouldn’t be able to contribute, that I wouldn’t be able to have the season I wanted to have.”

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On head coach Brad Stevens the night of the injury: “There was probably like 20 people there, but Brad wanted to make sure he was one of the ones that helped carry me up the stairs. That’s just the type of person that he is. You guys have been around him enough to know. Went out to eat with him this morning. He’s one of the big reasons why I came here, and I’ve said that. As good as a basketball coach as he is, he’s a good human being and a great person. He wants to include me still and wants to make sure that I’m still a part of this team, and I’m still helping the team. So he’s going to have different things for me to do and different ways that I can help.”

On talking to his doctors post-surgery: “I’m a pretty skeptical person, and I question a lot. So I grilled him, and I wanted to make sure what he was telling me wasn’t just him feeding me lines to try to keep my spirits up. The doctors were unbelievable, all the doctors at New England Baptist and Dr. Porter in Indianapolis, in showing me how I was going to recover, showing me why I was going to recover, telling me about different athletes that have done the exact same thing and showing me where they are at now. So it was not just telling me but kind of showing me the reasoning behind it. So that definitely lifted my spirits, and they said if you’re going to have a horrific injury, this is the one to have. I’ll take that, I guess.”

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On combating the day-to-day struggle: “Daily, I still have negative thoughts. It’s hard not to, especially when you watch the games. It’s something that I’m trying to work on, like, I think I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have those thoughts. I think there are just definite positive things that I can take from this, and there’s definitely no reason to continue to sulk and wallow in some self pity because it happened. You can’t take it back, as much as I want to rewind it and go out the other way on the pin down. It’s something that I’m going to have to deal with, so might as well deal with it now.”

On his involvement with the team moving forward: “It’s going to be really important for me and my mental health to stay involved and still be a part of the team as much as I can. Be out there on the court with them, be with them in the locker room, and I can see different things watching the film that maybe they can’t see out on the court. I can try to help them. That will help me as well.”

On shooting out of a chair: “Shooting out of a chair is a little bit different than shooting standing up. I feel pretty short. But just to be out on the court with a basketball and have Scott, our assistant, rebounding for me. That was an incredible feeling, just to kind of start that process. Just because, for so long, for two weeks or whatever, I was in a bed with my foot up the longest time. Those hours seem like they last forever because you’re just sitting there and bored and can’t do much.”

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On his return: “I’m putting zero expectations on myself as far as a timetable. For me, I want to get better today. Right after this, I’m going to do so rehab, do some chair shooting, and that’s what I’m focused on.”