Gordon Hayward won’t just be watching the Boston Celtics from the TD Garden sidelines this season. He’ll also, eventually, be traveling with them…in order to watch them from the sidelines in rival arenas.
Though the All-Star forward still isn’t expected to play this season after suffering a dislocated left ankle and fractured fibia, head coach Brad Stevens told reporters he will, at some point, join the Celtics for road trips, per Celtics.com’s Marc D’Amico:
Brad Stevens indicated prior to Monday night’s matchup with the Hawks in Atlanta that the swingman will indeed be a member of the traveling party once doctors clear him to travel.
“We’re really trying to stay active in [keeping him involved] in our communications with him while we’re on the road, and constantly seeing him when we’re at home,” said Stevens. “And then once he can come to games, both on the road and at home, he will be more visible to everyone else, because it’s just a matter of health right now. They don’t want him traveling yet. They don’t want him sitting on the bench yet.”
For good measure, here’s a picture of Hayward taking shots while sitting in a chair, courtesy of Celtics president Danny Ainge:
— Danny Ainge (@danielrainge) November 6, 2017
Mark these words: At some point this season, whenever that maybe, rumors will surface that Hayward is on track to play before 2018-19. That much is inevitable. But traveling with the team, and ramping up his recovery efforts, doesn’t need to mean that.
Being around his runing mates, especially as a newcomer, is important. It helps builds off-court chemistry while giving Hayward a bird’s eye view of what the Celtics are trying to do on the hardwood. This still isn’t a perfect setup, but it should ensure that he’s as acclimated to the Celtics way as reasonably possible by the time he re-enters the rotation, at full strength, next season.