Gordon Hayward - London swim meet, muscles, no brace, rehab progress

There is a lot of important information contained in Danny Ainge's tweet below. First of all, apparently it was no contest between NBA Skills Trainer, Jason Smeathers, and Aussie athlete and Celtics rehab manager, Steve Mount. Swimmers need muscle, and Jason doesn't have any. And being so lean, he probably sinks like a rock.

Gordon Hayward didn't take part in the swim meet, but his photo tells me two things. First of all, his left ankle is still somewhat distorted from the fracture, dislocation and surgery. I am no physician, but the distortion does not appear to be overly significant considering the extent of the injury. He appears to be walking well without a brace.

Secondly, looking at the calf muscles, I see only slight muscle atrophy in the left calf compared to the right. I would have expected to see more of a difference there, and that may be a good sign. The following pertains to muscle atrophy after surgery for acute Achilles rupture surgery, but it is analogous to what Gordon went through. The quote is per Juuso Heikkinen et al from the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery:

... but 11% to 13% deficits in soleus and gastrocnemius muscle volumes and 12% to 18% deficits in plantar flexion strength persist even after long-term follow-up.

My take is that the muscle deficits in the calf are significantly greater soon after removal of the cast and boot, but the 11-13% loss persists long after the removals, despite the rehab. I expected to see more of a muscle deficit in Gordon's left calf at this point. The 12-18% strength loss cited would be extremely important for high-level athletes. And again, the strength loss persists "even after long-term follow-up". That level of calf strength differential from one side of the body to another sets up a basketball player for further injury. That is why there is so much caution relative to Hayward's return to action.

My third take is the Celtics players and staff are having a blast in London. If a team needed a break, it was the Celtics. The team continues to rack up wins and Gordon's rehab seems to be progressing very well. And that is one hell of a Gold Medal Steve Mount is wearing.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Winslow Townson/AP Photo