Celtics’ Ainge: Hayward about two weeks from removing walking boot

Boston Celtics' Gordon Hayward uses crutches as he steps away from a podium. (Steven Senne/AP)

The NBA’s much-anticipated opening-night matchup between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers was marred early when newly-signed Celtics star Gordon Hayward went down with a brutal injury.

It’s one of the worst injuries we’ve seen in basketball, and the following day Haywayrd had surgery to repair a broken tibia and dislocated ankle. At the time his agent, Mark Bartelstein, said the 27-year-old was expected to make a full recovery but noted that “it’s very unlikely he’ll play this season.”

But Hayward’s recovery process seems to be going quite well.

Speaking on Boston sports talk radio program The Toucher and Rich Show on Thursday morning, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge gave a promising update that Hayward isn’t far away from being able to remove the walking boot he’s been wearing since the injury.

On Wednesday night, Celtics fans rejoiced when a brief glimpse of a boot-less Hayward surfaced online via an Instagram video posted by his wife, Robyn.

When asked about the image, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he didn’t see it, but offered an update of his own: “He is progressing and doing what he can do, what he’s been cleared to do. It’s been going well. He still wears a boot when he comes over to the gym, he’s wearing the boot for most of the day.”

Hayward signed a four-year, $127-million contract this past summer and, along with point guard Kyrie Irving, was a key figure in Boston’s off-season overhaul.

Named an all-star for the first time last season after averaging a career-high 22 points per game for the Utah Jazz, Hayward would certainly make his team better. The Celtics have been doing just fine without him, however, and are currently in first-place in the East with an NBA-best 22-4 record.

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