Gordon Hayward‘s ugly left ankle injury was a horrible way for the Celtics and their prized free agent acquisition to start the 2017/18 season, but Chris Mannix of The Vertical (video link via NBC Sports Boston) hears from sources that there’s some “cautious optimism” about Hayward’s eventual recovery.
According to Mannix, the injury, which has been described to him as a “clean break,” is one that could have been worse, even if it didn’t look that way at the time. Mannix suggests that the All-Star forward should be able to make a full recovery.
The Celtics have yet to issue an update on Hayward themselves, so while Mannix’s report is encouraging, we’ll wait for official word from the team on Hayward’s diagnosis, possible surgery, and recovery outlook. In the meantime, here’s more out of Boston:
- Applying for a disabled player exception would give the Celtics some flexibility to sign or trade a replacement for Hayward, as we noted on Tuesday night. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype identifies some potential targets in free agency or on the trade market in the event that Boston does attempt to add reinforcements.
- Charles Curtis of USA Today makes the case for why the Celtics are still a legit contender even without Hayward in the lineup.
- Before the season opener on Tuesday, Marcus Smart spoke to reporters – including Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald – about his failed contract extension talks with the Celtics, suggesting that he’ll be more expensive to lock up as a restricted free agent next summer. “We thought it was close from the fact that we didn’t ask for much,” Smart said. “We were going to take less money than what we probably are valued, and some other things, but they just weren’t budging. (Luxury tax was) the big issue. They weren’t willing to pay the luxury tax. We even gave them options of things where they wouldn’t have to pay or be so deep into the luxury tax, and they still wouldn’t budge.”
- In an in-depth piece for The Boston Globe, Adam Himmelsbach revisits the Celtics’ eventful offseason, with several Celtics executives, including Danny Ainge and Mike Zarren, providing quotes.