Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has done his best to squash fans’ hopes of seeing Gordon Hayward return this season. However, recent videos of Hayward working out have kept the dream alive for Green Teamers.

But does Hayward himself expect to play in a game this season?

“I don’t believe that Gordon thinks he’s going to play … I don’t think so, no,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.”


When asked why Hayward has documented his rehab process for the world to see, Ainge offered this explanation:

“I think that Gordon just wants to show everyone when he comes back next year all the work he put in to get back to who he was when he got here, or an even better player than he was when he got hurt.”

Although Hayward clearly has made substantial progress since suffering a gruesome leg injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Celtics’ season opener, he still has a long, long way to go.

“He’s not even full weight-bearing on his foot doing anything yet,” Ainge said. “He is on the Alter-G, which is half his body weight, maybe up to 60 percent of his body weight. There’s just a long way to go before he can get on a court.

“And then once he’s 100 percent cleared physically, which he’s not close to that yet, there’s a long process of just getting your mind and your confidence in your foot and overcoming the mental part of it.”

It still seems unlikely we’ll see Hayward suit up for the C’s before or during the NBA playoffs. But until the Celtics officially rule him out, speculation justifiably will persist.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images