Now introducing: Coach Gordon Hayward

Now that Gordon Hayward has undergone successful surgery on his fractured ankle, he's ready to reunite with his teammates at the Boston Celtics' practice facility in Waltham, MA. It's another baby step in the the right direction on his road to recovery, but many are questioning what exactly he'll be doing with the team, besides working with the medical staff on his rehabilitation.

Well, Coach Brad Stevens was recently asked what he's planning to have Hayward do while the injured player is on site, and it seems that Brad will now be seeing Hayward as more of a colleague, rather than a pupil. He said:
We are just going to throw him different assignments that we're working on as a staff. Just to keep him engaged. I just have a couple (assignments) I have in mind. I don't want to get too specific or deep on it. Just so he can continue to stay engaged and give some of our younger players his insight.
This is a great strategy to keep Hayward engaged with the team. These long-term injuries can really isolate a player from the squad, because while the majority of the team is running drills and traveling to games, the injured guy is left to workout by himself, behind closed doors, with only trainers and doctors. They can easily get out-of-the-loop, which makes it that much harder to step back into the lineup when the time comes. So now, he'll be with the team regularly and will be taking part in activities.

And not only will it be beneficial to Gordon, but it'll help the entire team, especially the young guys. Of course, GH was brought to Boston because of his abilities on a basketball court, but he was also added to help mold this team into an eventual Championship contender. The veteran players, like Hayward and Al Horford, are expected to critique the younger guys to help them become better players quickly. This is something that Hayward can do, even while he's sitting in a wheel chair.

And better yet, what if this new gig helps to boost his basketball IQ? Not only will he be watching the game film, but he'll also have to study it and be prepared to dissect it in front of the entire team. By the time he's ready to lace 'em up, we could have another Rajon Rondo-type brainiac on our hands, who will know what play the other team is going to run, even before the opponent does.

Welcome to the team Coach Hayward. Now lets go get some Ws.

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Photo: Ted S. Warren, Associated Press