The Boston Celtics opted not to make a major move at this year’s NBA trade deadline, but the idea of a star player joining the C’s later in the season seemingly still is in play.

While the Celtics have been fairly mum on the situation, Boston fans have been holding on to hope that Gordon Hayward could return to action at some point later in the campaign, potentially in the postseason. Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury during the Celtics’ season opener Oct. 17, but he appears to be making great strides in his rehab process.

Despite notable progress, we likely will have to wait until the 2018-19 season to see Hayward take the court for the Celtics. In a conversation with Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Mannix, Boston head coach Brad Stevens delivered an unoptimistic message regarding Hayward’s potential return.

While Stevens effectively is closing the book on the issue, Danny Ainge has kind of been leaving it open. The Celtics president of basketball operations previously noted that February will be “a big month” for the star forward in his rehab, but he didn’t detail any sort of timetable for return.

It, of course, would behoove the C’s to not rush Hayward back, as he is a huge piece in the team’s future plans. But if he continues to rapidly progress, his return could be the spark Boston needs to catapult itself to the NBA Finals.