Forward Gordon Hayward provided an update on his rehabilitation from the horrific foot injury he suffered in the Celtics’ first game of the season.
“I know everybody is curious about where things stand with my rehab,’’ Hayward wrote on his web site. “It’s all been going really well. I’m happy to report I’m feeling like an athlete again. I’ve been in Indianapolis for the last couple weeks making some really good progress. I leave the hotel every morning at about 9:30 a.m. and don’t get back til about 6 p.m. We do a lot of running mechanics, physical therapy, a lift of some sort, and then court work for another few hours. It’s a full day, every day. I’m definitely moving along as planned, and progressing really well.’’
Hayward has been impressed by the Celtics’ resolve through the first two rounds of the playoffs, and looks ahead to the upcoming series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“We’ve shown throughout the year that we can beat anybody in the league on any given night,’’ Hayward wrote. “We’re going to have to play extremely well to beat them four times. But we can do it. And I believe that we will.’’
Hayward offered plenty of praise for his teammates and coach. Here’s just a sample.
On coach Brad Stevens: “His famous out of bounds plays — that’s not a new thing. When we were at Butler, his out of bounds plays—that stuff he draws up out of a timeout—was the stuff of legend. I remember practicing them. At the end of practice, he’d call us over and draw up a play. Then he’d sit there and tell every one of us where to be, where to go, how the defense would react and then how to execute. And every time we ran the play, that was exactly what happened.’’
On Terry Rozier: “He’s driven by self-confidence. He’s had enough big moments in big games to build confidence in himself. That’s a huge thing in this league. When you feel like you belong and that you’re the best the player on the court, you’re going to play a lot better.’’
On Jaylen Brown: “If he’s shooting the ball well, the game completely changes. The thing that he’s best at is getting to the rim because he’s quick and explosive when he goes by you. With that in mind, you want him to give him a little space as a defender. So if he’s able to hit the three with any consistency, he becomes a totally different player.’’
On Al Horford: “There’s not enough you can say about what he’s meant to the team. He’s not a guy who will usually fill up the stat sheet from a points perspective, but he’ll give you what you need, whatever that is.’’
On Jayson Tatum: “One thing Jayson’s doing a really good job of is attacking his defenders, and finding the matchup that he wants to exploit. That’s a hard thing to learn, and he’s already picked it up. He’s a matchup nightmare and he knows it, so he uses his strengths.’’
On Marcus Morris: “He’s been asked to do so many different things: playing the three, four or five for us, coming off the bench or starting. He’s become a real shot-maker for us, and a guy who can get us a timely bucket during this run.’’
On Marcus Smart: “Marcus Smart is the guy who makes the dirty plays, the hustle plays — honestly, game-winning plays is what they should be called. You saw it in Game 5 the other night. His defense and energy are things the team definitely needs.’’
On Aron Baynes: “Any time he’s gone up against a big-time center it seems like he raises his game and plays really well. He’s even stepped out and hit a few threes. He’s been in and out of the starting lineup, and proven to be another selfless guy that this team needs to be successful.’’