Danny Ainge’s foot is lodged firmly in his mouth.
The Boston Celtics’ president of basketball operations disappointed fans last Thursday when he revealed forward Gordon Hayward had suffered a “setback” in his recovery from a severe ankle injury. Ainge apparently regrets that word choice, though.
“You know what? Sometimes I talk too much,” Ainge told the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett on Sunday before the Celtics’ game against the New Orleans Pelicans. “‘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’s the actual update on Hayward, then?
“What happened is he went on the AlterG (anti-gravity treadmill) the first day and he felt some soreness,” Ainge said. “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.”
Head coach Brad Stevens offered the same narrative Sunday afternoon, telling reporters Hayward simply waited about two weeks before resuming treadmill work. That’s a good sign for Hayward’s long-term recovery, but if you’re holding out hope the Celtics star will return this season, well, don’t.
“It just doesn?t seem likely, so I don’t want to put any pressure on him,” Ainge added. “Gordon can say whatever he wants, but we are not planning on him playing this year. I don’t see that happening; that’s why I keep saying that.”