Looking back, it’s probably a good thing Gordon Hayward didn’t make a triumphant return to the Boston Celtics this season.
Hayward underwent a second surgery Wednesday to remove a plate and screws from his left leg, a procedure that surprised some who may have thought he was further along in his recovery from a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge offered more clarity Thursday morning on why Hayward underwent the operation.
“Gordon felt like he was making great strides and getting close, but he still had a little bit of pain in one little spot that persisted over the last couple months,” Ainge said during his weekly radio appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.”
“(The Celtics’ medical staff) felt like it was being caused by the hardware, and they just took the hardware and did some testing on it, and tested that his left foot is even stronger than his right foot when that pain is alleviated. So, they just felt like they were going to get the hardware out.
“His bone had completely healed and the muscles and tissues and everything had all healed, and they just wanted to get that hardware out. So, that was the safest bet of him being 100 percent by next year so there wouldn’t be any lingering effects.”
Hayward indeed is expected back by training camp in the fall, and after a few minor setbacks earlier this year, it appears he’s now on track for a full recovery.
The same can be said for Hayward’s teammate, Kyrie Irving, who underwent a similar procedure in April. The Celtics guard had two screws removed from his left knee, the site of a 2015 surgery, after an infection cropped up at the site of the screws.