Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward: "He's not playing this year"

Well, you can't say we didn't tell you it might go like this.
Amidst yet another bevy of speculation sparked by Chris Mannix's comments and seemingly contradictory evidence in the form of videos showing injured Boston Celtic wing Gordon Hayward doing some on-court work, coach Brad Stevens decided to address that speculation in a pre-game media scrum in Houston for tonight's game against the Rockets:

"He's not playing this year ... "

If that didn't knock the wind out of your sails, it should. Instead of the PR line of "we don't expect him back", it's shifted to a more definitive position, one Celtics fans might not want to hear, but medically sound - and likely - position for Hayward's long-term health and recovery.

Stevens continued with some context:

"Is he progressing? ...Yes. He did another AlterG workout this morning. He's up to 60 percent of his weight on the AlterG. ... It's great. And I think 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.'...he's a super long way away from even being in a one-on-0 workout where he's cutting."

Does that mean it's a done deal, and Hayward is a scratch? Quite probably. And we should grow accustomed to that based on what we're hearing. The temptation to play armchair doctor may be there, especially to those of us with anecdotal experience with such injuries.

But the fact remains almost no one reading this has ever played high-level basketball, too, and the demands of playing at its highest level don't even come close to even your most heated, intense pickup game at the Rec. The risk of refracture or worse is very high, and even with the best assistance, the musculature - and confidence - will atrophy to some extent, even if he's put in work elsewhere in his body.

Of course, it's always possible the unexpected can happen - but for now, let's wish Gordon the best, and focus on the Rockets, James Harden, and, hopefully, Marcus Smart getting under Harden's skin.

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Image: AP Photo/Winslow Townson
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