The 28-year-old Celtics forward underwent successful surgery to remove a plate and screws from his injured left leg, the team announced Wednesday. Hayward is expected to resume basketball activities in six to eight weeks.
Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million contract with the Celtics in July. But, he suffered a gruesome leg injury in Boston’s 2017-18 opener against the Cavaliers and missed the rest of the season.
The Celtics went on to reach Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The team says his leg and ankle are sound, but the plate and screws that were implanted to help the injury heal were irritating his tendons. He is scheduled to resume basketball activities in six to eight weeks and be ready for training camp.
Hayward was progressing prior to the procedure, as he had begun playing one-on-one. The Celtics will likely be very cautious with Hayward, so their expectations for him to be back for training camp indicates that Hayward is progressing well.
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Hayward spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Jazz. He averaged 21.9 points and was named an All-Star for the first time in 2016-17.
Hayward played for current Celtics coach Brad Stevens at Butler from 2008-10.
The Celtics finished 2017-18 with a 55-27 record. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they fell to the Cavaliers in seven games.
Boston star Kyrie Irving was limited to 60 games in the regular season and missed the entire playoffs after he underwent two knee surgeries.
There was hope late in the season that Hayward may have been ready for a playoff return. He obviously did not take the court in the postseason, and it appears the irritation from the screws may have closed the door on that hope.
If Hayward and Irving are indeed able to return healthy for the beginning of the season, expectations will by sky high in Boston.