Danny Ainge clarifies "Gordon Hayward suffered a setback" statement

In a classy move, Celtics boss Danny Ainge has come forward to clarify a statement he had made in reference to Gordon Hayward's recovery from injury. He still maintains that the Celtics do not expect Gordon back this season, even though some hope remains, but he did indicate that he misspoke when he said previously that Hayward had suffered a setback in his rehab.

Danny knows all too well that a season-ending injury to a newly-acquired free agent in the first five minutes of action playing for a team that wanted him badly will get a lot of scrutiny during the rehab process. Here is The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett supposed semantic slip:

"You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," said Ainge. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it -- or say it that way.

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness. It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was.

"So I think 'setback' is the wrong way to put it. I mis-phrased that. I'm not sure what the right word is, but he wasn't ready for that. So we waited a couple of weeks before we started that again, and since we started that again it's been great and he's progressed along on the AlterG. That's all. It wasn't like he had an accident or anything like that.

"I used the word 'setback,' and it became a headline. Like, 'Oh, setback.' It got blown out of proportion. It's my fault. I'm not blaming anybody. 'Setback' was probably too strong of a word."

My first reaction to Ainge's statement is that I would expect some level of soreness, and possibly slight swelling of the ankle, after starting to run again, even at a weight-reduction on the AlterG treadmill. My only questions are, did he use the term setback for a specific, unkown purpose, or did he simply misspeak. We are reminded of Warrior's Coach Steve Kerr mis-announcing his starting lineup for game four of the 2015 NBA Finals. He later admitted openly that he lied, and that trophies are not awarded based on morality, but rather for winning.

Slight soreness, and even swelling, is not unusual when restarting a previous activity such as running, months after injury. It certainly would not be considered a setback. Why Danny chose that word - only he knows. NBA basketball is big business, and as Steve Kerr sharply reminded us - "So I lied. Sorry, but I don’t think they give you the trophy based on morality. They give it to you if you win." I love the honesty, and I am glad Danny Ainge clarified his previous statement.

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Photo via Nicolaus Czarnecki