Gordon Hayward suffered his career-altering foot injury nearly three full years ago, but it still appears to be giving him problems after all this time.
Speaking with reporters on Friday, the Boston Celtics swingman said that the troublesome left foot was still bothering him despite the long layoff.
“I wish that I had an answer to why it is a little sore,” said Hayward, per Tom Westerholm of MassLive.com. “I think a lot of it relates to just the injury that I had. I’ve been training pretty much this whole time. Not full go obviously, since I haven’t had a court the whole time, but I have been trying to stay fit.
“I’ve been resting but at the same time not resting,” the former All-Star added. “Kind of like a maintenance type thing. Everything is definitely a lot better, there is no doubt about that. For sure, I’m feeling great, it’s just the foot still is a little sore. It is what it is.”
Hayward, 30, was having his best year since the injury, averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. But he missed 19 of Boston’s 64 games and managed soreness in the foot (plus other worrisome issues) all season.
While Hayward does have a $34.2 million player option for next season that he is widely expected to pick up, the Celtics may have to monitor his workload in Orlando closely, especially with the heightened risk of injury for all players.
The Boston Celtics have a good chance to win the Eastern Conference when the NBA season resumes in Orlando, but they may end up being without a key player for a short stretch during the playoffs.
Gordon Hayward and his wife Robyn are expecting their fourth child in September. In a video conference with reporters on Friday, Hayward said he will leave the NBA’s “bubble” campus in Orlando when his wife goes into labor.
“It’s a pretty easy decision for me on that,” Hayward said, via John Karalis of MLive.com. “I’ve been at the birth of every one of my children and I think there are more important things in life. So we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
The NBA will host eight regular season games in Orlando before the playoffs tip off at some point in mid-August. The NBA Finals will take place in October.
Under the health and safety protocols in place for Orlando, players who leave the Orlando bubble have to quarantine for no less than four days when they return. The player can return to his team as soon as he has four negative tests for COVID-19. That means Hayward would miss the days he’s away from the team for the birth plus the four days upon returning, at minimum.
Obviously, the Celtics will understand. The birth of a child is more important than any basketball game, even if it is the playoffs. Plus, the Haywards are welcoming their first boy. Do you remember Gordon’s reaction when he found out the couple was having a third daughter? The man needs this.
Hayward is averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists through 45 games this season. Not having him in the playoffs would be a tough obstacle for the Celtics.
No matter what happens with the rest of this NBA season, Gordon Hayward will most likely be running it back with the Boston Celtics for one more year.
Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reported this week that front office executives around the league expect the former All-Star to pick up his sizable $34.1 million player option with the Celtics for next season.
“It’s too much money to pass up,” an anonymous GM was quoted as saying. “[Hayward] could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him, they have a lot of young guys to pay and the starting [salary] number on whatever the contract is will not be close to $34 million. He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year. When you look at what he has done since his injury, he has only gotten better. He could get better next year and be ready for the summer of 2021.”
Hayward, who recently turned 30, signed a four-year, $128 million deal with Boston in 2017, but the broken leg that he suffered in his first game as a Celtic set him back multiple seasons. He has finally started looking like his old self again this year though, averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists a game in 45 starts.
Cashing in on $34 million next year probably seems like a no-brainer, but concerns for the Celtics might be that forward Jayson Tatum is due for an extension soon and that Hayward is not entirely over his injury issues.
The overflow of tributes that have come in since Kobe Bryant’s death on Sunday have shown how revered the Los Angeles Lakers legend was among the NBA community, sports fans in general, and people throughout the world. A story shared by Mike Tirico about a gesture from Gordon Hayward in Kobe Bryant’s final game also shows just how much the NBA community respected Bryant and looks out for each other.
Tirico, who called Kobe’s farewell game against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016, recounted a great story on Ryen Russillo’s podcast about how Hayward worked to ensure Kobe would get the best shot at scoring 60 points in his last game.
— The Ringer (@ringer) January 28, 2020
Keep in mind that Hayward’s Jazz blew a late lead and lost 101-96. Despite that, Hayward knew to make sure he gave Bryant another shot at reaching the 60-point mark in case the Lakers legend missed his free throw. Bryant of course made both free throws to reach the incredible 60-point mark in his farewell game.
A year later, Hayward broke his leg in his first game playing for the Boston Celtics. Bryant wrote an inspirational message on Instagram for Hayward, advising him on the recovery process.
View this post on Instagram
Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up you will think it was just a nightmare only to realize it’s all too real. You will be angry and wish for the day back, the game back THAT play back. But reality gives nothing back and nor should you. Time to move on and focus on doing everything in your power to prepare for surgery, ask all the questions to be sure you understand fully the procedure so that you may visualize it in your subconscious while being operated on and better the chance of it’s success. Then focus on the recovery process day by day by day. It’s a long journey but if you focus on the mini milestones along the way you will find beauty in the struggle of doing simple things that prior to this injury were taken for granted. This will also mean that when you return you will have a new perspective. You will be so appreciative of being able to stand, walk, run that you will train harder than you ever have. You see the belief within you grow with each mini milestone and you will come back a better player for it. Best of luck to you on this journey my brother #mambamentality always.
A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on
A month after Bryant’s final game, Hayward offered his thoughts on the contest and admitted they were in shock watching the performance.
We’ve seen other moments where players have tried to help legends achieve incredible feats (think Brett Favre giving Michael Strahan the sack record), but this was something very few people knew about, and hearing it is cool.
UPDATE: Hayward addressed the story and said the move was unintentional and that Kobe would not have wanted to be gifted a point.
It has also come to my attention that there is a story going around tonight about an intentional lane violation that I took to ensure Kobe would get his 60th point in his final game and many are applauding me for the gesture. The fact of the matter is that is not true.
— Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) January 28, 2020
He got 60 on me and I didn't give him anything free all night. What happened on the free throw line was not intentional. Kobe would have lost respect for me if I gave him something free. That’s what made him so very special!
— Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) January 28, 2020
More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:
Other victims of the helicopter crash:
– John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
– Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims
– Sarah Chester, daughter Payton were also killed in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
– Ara Zobayan was the pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Tributes to Kobe:
– UConn honors Gianna Bryant with own jersey, spot on the bench
– LeBron James promises to continue Kobe Bryant’s legacy in Instagram note
– Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
– Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
– Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
– Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
– Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
– Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
– NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
– Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
– Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
– Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
– Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences
– Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released
– Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
– NBA postpones Tuesday’s Lakers-Clippers game after Kobe Bryant’s death
– Kobe Bryant recently filed for ‘Mambacita’ trademark for daughter Gianna
– Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
– No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
– Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
– Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
– Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
– Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41
Gordon Hayward just can’t shake off the injury bug, and he believes that he is still feeling the effects of his serious injury two seasons ago.
Speaking with the media on Tuesday, the Boston Celtics swingman told reporters that he is currently dealing with nerve pain in his left foot and pointed the finger at his fractured tibia and dislocated ankle from Oct. 2017.
“I think it has everything to do with my prior injury,” Hayward said, per Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal. “I didn’t get hurt on my right foot, so when you have a traumatic event like that to your foot and ankle, things are going to change inside of there that you don’t know necessarily.
“I think they start to poke their head a little bit if it gets tweaked in some way or another,” he continued. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence it’s on my left foot.”
Hayward, who has missed the last three games with the issue, also revealed that he has gotten three cortisone shots in the foot. He recently missed about a month with a broken hand as well, during which time Hayward said that the foot injury curiously got worse.
The former All-Star is still only 29, but his continued inability to stay healthy is a concern, especially with the other foot ailments that Hayward has had since his gruesome injury.
Gordon Hayward is expected to miss six weeks after undergoing hand surgery on Monday.
The Boston Celtics shared news on Hayward’s status via Twitter.
#NEBHInjuryReport Gordon Hayward underwent successful surgery today to repair a fourth metacarpal fracture in his left hand. The injury occurred during Saturday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.⁰
He is expected to return to play in approximately 6 weeks.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 12, 2019
Hayward was hurt after running into LaMarcus Aldridge on a screen late in the second quarter of Saturday’s game. It was a rough break for him considering his luck since signing with Boston. He broke his leg in his first game with the team and missed all of the season. Then last year he had a rough time as he was returning from the injury. Finally this season he had been doing great, averaging 20.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 56.4 percent from the field prior to the injury, but now he is sidelined.
Gordon Hayward suffered a hand injury during the Boston Celtics’ game against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, and it is one that will require surgery.
Hayward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday that Hayward will undergo surgery to repair a fractured left hand. A timetable for his return will not come until after the procedure.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 11, 2019
While the exact details of the injury are unclear, Celtics fans are hoping it is somehow less severe than the one Stephen Curry sustained earlier this season. Curry is going to be out a minimum of three months after fracturing his hand, and there has been talk that he may not play again this season.
Hayward had been playing great this season, averaging 20.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 56.4 percent from the field. He is now two years removed from the horrific leg injury he suffered in his first game after signing with the Celtics, so the hand injury is another tough break for him.