Gordon Hayward

Injury Updates: Hayward, Embiid, George, Anderson

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is ready for the next step in his rehab process, writes Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge announced this morning that Hayward is going to Indianapolis to work with a top specialist in running mechanics. The goal of the visit is to help him improve his form as he continues to recover from a fractured left ankle. The Celtics and Hayward both have prior experience with the specialist.

Ainge added that Hayward continues to make encouraging progress from the brutal opening-night injury that wiped out his first season in Boston. Hayward was shown jogging on the court with Celtics trainer Jason Smeathers in a recent video.

There’s more injury-related news to pass along:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters a “unified effort” is being conducted to determine when Joel Embiid can return to the court, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. The team, Embiid’s representatives and the doctor who performed his facial surgery are working together to monitor his progress. Begley adds that Embiid, who had the operation March 31, still hasn’t been medically cleared for full contact and doesn’t have a target date to start playing again. Embiid will go through a scripted practice today, his first since suffering a fracture of the orbital bone, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Embiid wrote on Instagram Monday that he is “sick and tired of being babied” regarding the injury.
  • Paul George was held out of contact in today’s practice because of a right hip contusion, according to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). George will receive further evaluation after Wednesday’s shootaround.
  • Rockets forward Ryan Anderson is on the practice court today for the first time since spraining his ankle, tweets Jerry Zgoda of The Star-Tribune. Anderson, who missed the final four games of the regular season and the playoff opener against the Timberwolves, said the ankle remains swollen and he’ll see how it responds before deciding if he can play tomorrow. “It’s one more shooter that you would have on the floor,” coach Mike D’Antoni said to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle about getting Anderson back. “If a couple guys aren’t going well, we have another guy to go to. It gives us a lot better chance.”
  • Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has been downgraded to doubtful for tonight’s game with the Wizards, reports Jared Greenburg of NBA TV (Twitter link). VanVleet has been experiencing soreness in his shoulder since a collision in the team’s final regular season game, but X-rays taken this week were negative.

Injury Notes: Butler, Kawhi, Hayward, Evans

Jimmy Butler‘s return date remains unclear, but it looks like the Timberwolves forward is getting closer and closer to getting back into the lineup. According to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link), Butler took part in five-on-five action during practice today for the first time since injuring his knee in February.

The Timberwolves only have four games left in the regular season, but Butler is still expected to return before the playoffs. Minnesota’s next game is on Thursday in Denver, and the Wolves would certainly like to have their veteran star back for that contest, which will be big for playoff purposes.

If Butler can’t suit up for the Timberwolves on Thursday, he could aim to return Friday against the Lakers, next Monday against the Grizzlies, or for next Wednesday’s finale against the Nuggets once again.

Let’s round up a few more injury updates from across the NBA…

  • Asked on Sunday for the latest on Kawhi Leonard‘s status, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said there has been no word on the star forward since he headed to New York last week for rehab purposes. “I don’t know when he and his group are going to feel like they are ready to go,” Popovich said, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “If I knew, he’d be here. When he and his group feel he’s ready, then he’ll be ready.” Leonard has already been ruled out of San Antonio’s Tuesday game against the Clippers (Twitter link via Jeff McDonald of The Express-News).
  • Gordon Hayward took another key step forward in his rehab from ankle surgery today, jogging up and down the Celtics‘ practice court. Although head coach Brad Stevens has said Hayward won’t return this season, the forward himself hasn’t ruled out the possibility. “I think every day where he can accomplish something new is a big deal,” Stevens acknowledged today, per Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com. Still, the Celtics’ coach cautioned that Hayward remains “a long, long way away.”
  • Jawun Evans‘ rookie year with the Clippers has come to an early end, according to head coach Doc Rivers, who said today that Evans will undergo sports hernia surgery and won’t play again this season (Twitter link via Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times). Evans averaged 4.8 PPG and 2.1 APG in 48 games for L.A. this season.

Injury Notes: Smart, Love, Ingram, Wall

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is making progress in rehabbing a torn ligament in his right thumb and hopes to be available for the second round of the playoffs, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

A cast on his hand was recently replaced by a splint with an opening at the top that allows him to move his thumb, and he has been able to do some light exercises with the injured digit. Smart tore the ligament earlier this month and underwent surgery March 16. His original prognosis had him out six to eight weeks, which sets a potential return about the time of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“Definitely right now, that’s what we’re shooting for,” he said. “The way it’s going now, we’re on the right path. Hopefully nothing happens where it gets delayed.”

There are more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Kevin Love has been placed in concussion protocol and will miss tonight’s game, the Cavaliers announced on their website. He suffered a front tooth sublexation last night and experienced concussion-like symptoms at halftime.
  • After missing nearly four weeks with a strained groin, Lakers forward Brandon Ingram expects to return tonight, tweets Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum Sports Net.
  • Coach Luke Walton says Lakers rookie Josh Hart has looked good in three-on-three games and may be cleared to play Friday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • John Wall, who has been sidelined since having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late January, may be able to return tomorrow, according to a tweet from the Wizards. Coach Scott Brooks said Wall will participate in the team’s shootaround and a decision will be based on how the knee responds. He is officially listed as questionable.
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari is targeting Friday to return from a fractured right hand, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “I hope to play a few minutes against Portland [Friday],” Gallinari said in an interview with Italian outlet Sky Sport. “The hand is not completely healed, but we’ll see how I can help the team in the games left in the regular season. I will try to bite the bullet for the playoff race. The franchise asked me to grit my teeth and play. I will try to do that.”
  • After re-injuring his right ankle Monday, Celtics forward Marcus Morris will sit out tonight’s game, according to a tweet from the team. He will probably return Saturday, according to Himmelsbach (Twitter link).
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens provided an another update on Gordon Hayward, saying he’s still limited to the Alter-G treadmill and hasn’t been cleared to run on the court (Twitter link). “There will be nothing more exciting for him than being able to get back out on the basketball court,” Stevens said (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman may be cleared to return to action after a hip flexor injury. He tweeted an image of himself accompanied by the word, “finally.”
  • Jazz center Tony Bradley has cleared concussion protocol, tweets Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News.

Injury Updates: Hayward, Irving, Smith Jr., Harris

Celtics‘ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge believes he gave the wrong impression this week when he said Gordon Hayward suffered a setback in his rehab, relays Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Looking back, Ainge believes “setback” was too strong a term and created inaccurate headlines about Hayward’s progress.

“What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness,” the Celtics’ top decision-maker explained. “It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn’t ready for it at that point. That’s all it was. So I think ‘setback’ is the wrong way to put it. I mis-phrased that. I’m not sure what the right word is, but he wasn’t ready for that. So we waited a couple of weeks before we started that again, and since we started that again it’s been great and he’s progressed along on the AlterG. That’s all. It wasn’t like he had an accident or anything like that.”

Despite Ainge’s clarification, the Celtics haven’t changed their opinion that Hayward won’t return to the court this season, which has their stance since he broke his ankle on opening night. Ainge said Hayward hasn’t done any “running or even jogging or real jumping” on the practice court and there’s not enough of the season left to make a comeback realistic.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Celtics continue to be cautious with Kyrie Irving, who has been limited by a sore left knee, Bulpett adds in the same story. Irving was held out of tonight’s game, and coach Brad Stevens said the star guard won’t play again until he feels 100 percent. Teammate Jaylen Brown remains in concussion protocol, but the Celtics plan to bring him on upcoming West Coast trip.
  • Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. is wearing a walking boot after turning his left ankle in Saturday’s game, but he’s confident about playing again this season, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the team “dodged a bullet” because Smith’s injury wasn’t more serious, but he has already been ruled out for Tuesday’s game.
  • An MRI conducted Friday on Nuggets‘ leading scorer Gary Harris showed he suffered a “sprain/strain” after landing awkwardly on his right leg, relays Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. Coach Michael Malone said Saturday that Harris could miss three or four games, but the team hopes to have him back before the end of its seven-game road trip.

Injury Notes: Leonard, Hayward, Irving, Exum

The Kawhi Leonard situation in San Antonio continues to be a baffling one. Asked today if Leonard has increased his three-on-three work or been upgraded to five-on-five play, Spurs point guard Tony Parker replied, “I have no idea. He isn’t practicing with us,” per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Parker also wondered aloud if Leonard might be nearing a point of no return for this season.

“We have what 14, games left? So it’s getting closer and closer that at some point it makes no sense (to bring him back),” Parker said of his Spurs teammate. “He didn’t play for like two or three months. He didn’t play for eight months, technically.”

While we wait to see if Leonard can make him back for the final few weeks of the 2017/18 season, let’s round up a few more injury notes and updates from across the NBA….

  • Appearing today on Toucher & Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that Gordon Hayward is back on track in his recovery from ankle surgery after suffering a setback recently. “He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago. We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought,” Ainge said, per ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “But, other than that, his work ethic and his determination have been amazing. … I don’t want to get people’s hopes up. He still is not back on the basketball court and we have a month left in the regular season. He’s got a ways to go but we’re excited about his progress and his determination.”
  • During that same radio appearance, Ainge said that Kyrie Irving may need to undergo a surgical procedure on his knee at some point. However, the Celtics president made that surgery sound anything but urgent, writes Forsberg. “He has a surgery that may need to happen,” Ainge said of Irving. “But maybe not this summer, maybe the following summer or maybe the summer after that. I think that he could probably do it any time he wanted, but I’m not sure that it’s needed at this moment.”
  • After missing the first 68 games of the season with a shoulder injury, point guard Dante Exum will be available on Thursday night, the Jazz announced (via Twitter). Exum likely won’t play a major role for Utah, but with Raul Neto sidelined due to a fractured wrist, the former No. 5 overall pick should get a chance to see some action.

Gordon Hayward Still Won’t Rule Out 2017/18 Return

Despite Celtics head coach Brad Stevens having recently and adamantly claimed that Gordon Hayward won’t suit up this season, the 27-year-old forward will not formally rule himself out for the remainder of 2017/18, ESPN’s Chris Forsberg writes.

Hayward sounded far from confident that he would end up back on the court for a second game in Celtics green before the end of the season but nonetheless remains determined to make incremental improvements over the next few weeks and take it “day by day.”

The hope is still there,” Hayward said. “It’s something where I’m really honestly not even thinking about it. I know we’re getting toward the end of the year. It’s something that I’m still working toward, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

Recently released video of the forward working out has spurred speculation that Hayward may be potentially able to play for the Celtics before the end of the season. So too has the revelation that he’ll soon be travelling with the team.

The 46-20 Celtics, second in the Eastern Conference, aren’t exactly hard up for reinforcements at this point in the season but the major offseason acquisition would be welcomed nonetheless. Thus far the organization has relied on Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to hold down the fort on the perimeter.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Hayward, Miles, Raptors

Markelle Fultz‘s status remains something of a mystery, with the Sixers only revealing vague details about how close 2017’s first overall pick is to returning to the court. With Philadelphia in the midst of a playoff push, the team may simply wait until next season to try to reintegrate Fultz.

Still, as Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com writes, head coach Brett Brown said this week that the Sixers haven’t set a cutoff date for the point guard to either return or sit out the remainder of the season.

“It’s all internal discussions we’re going through right now and just trying to accurately assess his situation,” Brown said before the Sixers took the court on Tuesday. “And we’re discussing that as we speak.”

At this point, Fultz seems more likely than not to be shut down for the season. That would give the Sixers a full offseason – including Summer League and training camp – to prepare the youngster for a regular role.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Brad Stevens definitively stated recently that Gordon Hayward won’t be back on the court this year for the Celtics, despite a series of recovery videos that has fueled speculation about his return. Now, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has weighed in with a similar sentiment. “I don’t believe that Gordon thinks he’s going to play. I don’t think so, no,” Ainge said during an appearance on Toucher & Rich in Boston. “I think that Gordon just wants to show everyone when he comes back next year … all the work that he put in to get back to who he was when he got here. [And attempt to become an] even better player than he was when he got hurt.”
  • Speaking of Hayward’s ankle, Kyrie Irving spoke about how that season-ending injury has impacted his first year with the Celtics. A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston has the details and the quotes from Irving.
  • In an excellent piece for The Toronto Sun, Ryan Wolstat takes an in-depth look at C.J. Miles, who says he joined the Raptors last July because he viewed the club as a perfect fit for his priorities. “My first takes on any situation are: Will I be able to play well, will I fit there, what are they trying to do, are they trying to win? How is the organization? Other guys that played there, did they like it?” Miles said. “That’s what I’m looking at. And it checked off every box.”
  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri said last spring that the club required a “culture reset.” The team’s success this season can be attributed in strong part to that reset, writes Curtis Withers of The Canadian Press.
  • Earlier today, we rounded up a few Knicks and Nets notes.

Celtics Notes: Hayward, West, Roster

With a series of videos updating his recovery progress, Gordon Hayward has been fueling speculation that despite long odds, he could suit up for the Celtics before the end of the season. However, head coach Brad Stevens gave his most definitive statement to date, declaring Hayward as done for the year, Michael Singer of USA Today Sports writes.

“He’s not playing this year,” Stevens said. “I don’t know what else to say. Is he progressing? Yes. … It’s great, and I think that the videos are great too because it continues to show the progress because sometimes when you’re in the midst of that long rehab you don’t feel the progress of the day-to-day the way now we all might see a video or somebody that hasn’t seen him may see a video, and say ‘man he is really getting better.’ But he’s super long way away from even being in on a 1-on-0 workout where he’s cutting.”

Hayward suffered a gruesome broken ankle on opening night against the Cavaliers — his first game in Boston green. The Celtics have added players to the roster and relied heavily on youngsters such as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in Hayward’s absence. He is expected to be ready for the 2018/19 season.

Check out other Celtics news and notes below:

  • NBA legend Jerry West, a current consultant to the Clippers front office, admires the work that Danny Ainge has done to rebuild the Celtics’ roster and put the team near the top of the Eastern Conference, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald writes. “Danny’s done a nice job back there,” West said. “Are they good enough? They had a terrible break with a very good player (Gordon Hayward), and are they good enough now? At the end of a couple of years, they’re going to be judged by that, by how they’re doing then — not by now. They’ve got some good young players. They’ve got a terrific coach. They’ve got a lot of positive things going, that’s for sure.”
  • One of the most talked-about trade scenarios in recent years has been Anthony Davis joining the Celtics. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer opines that the Celtics would be better off pouncing on the next major name that becomes available instead of waiting on Davis, who may or may not ever become available.

Celtics Notes: Hayward, Smart, Irving, Baynes

Plans have been delayed for Celtics forward Gordon Hayward to start joining the team on road trips, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. The Celtics want Hayward, who suffered a brutal ankle injury on opening night, to do more conditioning and strength work on an anti-gravity treadmill before clearing him to travel.

“It doesn’t look like it’s any time in the next couple of weeks,” coach Brad Stevens said. “We talked the other day. He’s gonna do another alter-G process or progress starting on Sunday where he goes from 60 percent of his body weight all the way to 100, and then once he gets to 100 — once he can do stuff where he’s running or jumping, then it makes sense to bring him on the road.”

Hayward has said he hasn’t given up hope of playing again before the season ends. However, Stevens reiterated that the plan has always been to bring Hayward on the road for camaraderie and emotional support, rather than as an on-court contributor.

There’s more today out of Boston:

  • Marcus Smart feels fortunate that he didn’t put himself out for the rest of the season when he punched a picture frame last month, relays Chris Forsberg of ESPN. Smart was sidelined for 11 games with lacerations on his right hand, but doctors told him a piece of glass barely missed shredding two tendons near the pinky on his shooting hand. A little further over and Smart probably would have needed season-ending surgery. “So, [the doctors said],’You should go play the lotto or something because you missed your tendons,'” Smart said. “They don’t understand it. They don’t really see how. So I thank God for that every day. It could have been worse.”
  • Even though he asked to be traded, Kyrie Irving had a lot of adjustments to make when he was sent from Cleveland to Boston over the offseason. “Been a lot of newness, honestly,” he said in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “It’s an adjustment in itself. Being with a totally different group of guys, trying to bridge that gap with our group and trying to be my best self with our group. It’s been awesome. Trying at times, but well worth it.” 
  • Center Aron Baynes is sitting out another game tonight with a sprained left elbow, the Celtics tweeted. He will undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the extent of the damage, relays Jay King of MassLive“He’s still sore,” Stevens told reporters. “But he’ll see our team docs and do the MRI thing tomorrow.”

Atlantic Notes: Belinelli, Fultz, Mudiay, Hayward

Marco Belinelli should provide a boost to the Sixers‘ offense when he signs with the team later this week, writes Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Belinelli reached a buyout agreement with the Hawks and was officially waived Friday, allowing him to clear waivers today. He announced his intentions to join the Sixers on Saturday night, throwing in a “TRUST THE PROCESS” tweet for added emphasis.

The 31-year-old has been a deadly 3-point shooter throughout his 11-year career and is hitting at a .372 clip from long distance this season while averaging 11.4 points per game. He was part of a title-winning Spurs team in 2014 and will bring some playoff experience to a relatively young roster. He also has a reputation as a clutch shooter and won’t mind taking a shot with a game on the line.

The addition of Belinelli makes it less likely that rookie Markelle Fultz will return this season, according to Todd. It should also cut into the playing time of Jerryd Bayless and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Fultz’s shooting problems appear to be more mental than physical, suggests Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers‘ top overall pick has missed 49 straight games with a “scapular muscle imbalance” in his right shoulder. However, the Sixers issued a statement on December 9 that the muscle imbalance had healed and Fultz no longer had pain in his shoulder. Another team statement in early January said he was cleared “to begin the final stage of his return-to-play program.” However, there has been no progress since then and no guarantee that Fultz will be back this season.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay posted a double-double and kicked the Knicks into a higher gear in his debut game with the team this afternoon, relates Marc Berman of The New York Post. Mudiay, who hasn’t practiced yet with his new team, put up 14 points and 10 assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Veteran Jarrett Jack kept his starting job, but played just the first four minutes of each half. “When we bring in another point guard and young kid in Emmanuel, we have to look at things,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek said about a possible lineup change. “We have a couple more games before the break. Then when we come back we have a few practices before that first game. If we’re going to do something, that will be the time.”
  • The Celtics still plan to start taking injured forward Gordon Hayward on road trips beginning next month, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Hayward continues to make progress from the fractured ankle he suffered on opening night, but he remains unlikely to return to the court before the season ends.