It’s been assumed that Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is on track for a return at the start of next season. And in an update on his blog, Hayward explained that while he’s still in line to be ready, it wasn’t without a recent “complication.”
According to Hayward, the issue derived from insertions that doctors made during the initial surgery when he fractured his tibia and dislocated his ankle on opening night in 2017.
“I recently had surgery to remove the plate and screws that were put in my ankle after I broke it in the opener,” Hayward wrote. “It’s not something we were expecting to be a part of this recovery process, but I’m happy to report that I’ll be back out there resuming rehab soon, with my sights set firmly on being back to my usual self for the start of next season.”
Hayward offered more background on how the decision was made to have the follow-up surgery to remove the plate and screws.
“I was also still having some pain on the outside of my ankle, kind of where the peroneal tendon is,” said Hayward. “I had been reporting back daily how I was feeling, and the team that I was working with in Indianapolis—along with the Celtics training staff—had surmised that it could be the hardware they put in during my initial surgery causing some irritation.”
Still, there was uncertainty as far as what the actual cause of the pain.
To help resolve the lingering questions, Hayward was put through a Cybex test. It made an interesting discovery:
Essentially, they used it to test the strength in both my ankles. The first round that I did the test, my left ankle was significantly weaker than my right. It was approximately 70 percent of the strength of the right ankle. On a test like that, 30 percent is a pretty significant number, so that raised some red flags.
Then Dr. Porter injected my left ankle with some local anesthetic to numb the area, and I did the same test again. That time, not only was my left 100 percent of the strength of my right, it was actually slightly stronger. That let Dr. Porter know that it was not a strength issue, but a pain issue, and the pain was basically blocking my progression.
This “revelation,” as Hayward described it, enabled him and his team – including the Celtics’ staff – to approve the follow-up surgery.
“So now, I basically have a normal ankle—just there are some holes in the bone where they had to put the screws in, and those are going to heal up.”
Hayward also offered up that before the surgery, he was playing one-on-one against former NBA player Brandon Rush.
“It was not quite five-on-five, real basketball, but I was starting to ramp it up and was definitely due to get there in short order.”
Hayward closed the blog entry by explaining his summer aspirations (“Everyone around the Celtics facility keeps telling me that I’ve got to go see the cape, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard, and all that stuff”), as well as his view of the disappointing loss in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Naturally, Hayward is excited to get back on the court (with Kyrie) to resume their long delayed – and much anticipated – Celtics partnership.
“I’ve talked with Kyrie, and I know he is progressing really well, and plans to start training hard pretty soon. We’ve both been itching to re-join these guys after watching what they did in the postseason.”