Gordon Hayward's rehab involves a lot of strengthening of the left ankle joint, but restoring dexterity to the ankle, foot and toes was as important - thus the grab-the-marbles-with-the-toes-and-place-them-in-the-box contest was born. It was all timed, and the healthy right foot won by a mile after Gordon's cast was removed. But things have changed.

Trust me, this is not a game. I performed similar rehab and timed test on a police-officer client hoping to return to work after suffering a mangled foot and hand in a motorcycle accident. It all worked and he returned to work shortly thereafter. This is CelticsWire.USAToday's Greg Cassoli on Hayward's progress:

The first time Hayward attempted this rehab task was the day he had his cast removed. Knowing Hayward’s insatiable need for competition, [trainer Jason] Smeathers busted out a timer on his phone. How quickly could Hayward get those 17 marbles into the box using his injured foot?

First, Hayward tried it with his right foot, the good one. Thirty-nine seconds. Smeathers wrote it down in his notepad. And with his left? That took longer, much longer. Four minutes and 57 seconds, to be exact. Hayward promised he’d shave seconds off his time every single day and vowed to get it under 30 seconds come playoff time.

Hayward has hit is personal goal ahead of schedule. On Monday, more than two weeks prior to the start of the NBA postseason, Boston’s injured star posted a video of him completing the marble exercise in just 23.8 seconds.

The basic purpose of the marble test is all about neuromuscular coordination. Is the brain working efficiently with the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the calf, ankle, foot and toes, and are the muscles firing correctly. Watch the video. They certainly appear to be. Another major step for Hayward. He probably won't return for the playoffs, but I won't rule it out.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Leah Klafczynski/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS

Tom Lane 3/26/2018 06:09:00 PM Edit
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