Danny Ainge Reveals Upcoming ‘Big Step’ In Gordon Hayward’s Rehab

Gordon Hayward is ready to hit the ground running. Well, kind of.

The Boston Celtics forward has been progressing quite well in his rehab from a devastating ankle injury suffered on NBA opening night. C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge offered another positive update on Hayward’s status Thursday morning, noting during his weekly interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” radio show that Hayward soon could be running on a treadmill.

“This is a big time, this next month,” Ainge said, “because Gordon will start — he’s been so restricted, he’s just been biting at the bit to do more and more and the doctors have been holding him back a bit to make sure he’s all healed — but now he’s going to start running on the AlterG (treadmill), and that’s a big step.”

An AlterG is an anti-gravity treadmill that allows patients recovering from injury to run without putting any pressure on their joints. Here’s a video of the treadmill in action, courtesy of Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, who is rehabbing a fractured leg:

That’s obviously a serious development for Hayward, who has been spotted shooting before Celtics games but for the most part has been stationary. He’s been incorporating some other mobility exercises, as well, according to Ainge.

“He’s just taken more and more steps on the court as far as just getting full range of motion — toe lifts and one-steps side to side and things like that,” Ainge said. “But this month will tell a lot.”

Of course, there’s still no timeline on Hayward’s return or clarity on whether a comeback this season is possible.

Ainge did break some other Hayward-related news, though, admitting he’s “pretty sure” Boston will use the $8.4 million Disabled Player Exception granted by the league as a result of Hayward’s injury in a “trade or buyout situation.” The C’s have until March 10 to use the exception.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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