Paul George Offers Unique Perspective On Gordon Hayward’s Comeback

by abournenesn

Mar 21, 2018

Everyone and their mother wants to know when Gordon Hayward will play basketball again. But take it from Paul George: There’s more to Hayward’s recovery than meets the eye.

The Oklahoma City Thunder forward suffered a similarly gruesome injury in 2014 when he fractured his leg during a Team USA scrimmage. George reached out to Hayward after the Celtics star injured his ankle in October and admitted Tuesday night he still stays in touch with Hayward to see “how he’s progressing.”

“The biggest thing was just letting him know what obstacles he was going to have to face with that injury,” George said after Boston’s thrilling win over OKC at TD Garden, via ESPN. “I think it helped a bit, just helping him and giving him a heads-up of what to expect.”

Hayward certainly has faced obstacles, most recently suffering a “setback” (or whatever Danny Ainge wants to call it) in his push to return to the court as soon as possible. George can relate, and he knows the challenges facing Hayward are mental as much as physical.

“I knew it was going to be frustrating, where you feel like you’re getting better, you’re about to turn that corner and then you’re going to have some setbacks,” George said. “That’s part of doing so well, putting so much stress on it, that sometimes it’s going to get sore, sometimes it’s going to feel like you shouldn’t have did something.

“It’s all part of the process. You gotta build, go through some walls. You gotta build some confidence and trust that leg all over again.”

So, what about Hayward potentially returning this season? George explained that medical clearance doesn’t necessarily mean Hayward will be good to go — it took George about a month to return to game action after getting the green light.

“I think I played April 1 (in 2015). I was probably medically cleared maybe middle February, early March,” George said. “So, I was practicing maybe about a month before I actually played. So, that was helpful. That was helpful building and kind of getting some confidence trusting the leg and just putting some force through it.”

If Hayward follows a similar path, it seems highly unlikely he’ll play for the Celtics this season.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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