Brad Stevens continues to be curiously dismissive about Gordon Hayward rehab videos

Brad Stevens continues to be curiously dismissive about Gordon Hayward rehab videos

Seemingly every week, Gordon Hayward releases a new video that shows him doing basketball-related activities. Then Brad Stevens downplays its significance. It’s an odd contrast.

Last month, the Players’ Tribune published the first of several videos of Hayward rehabbing from the gruesome ankle injury he suffered on opening night. It featured the star forward practicing shooting drills, ramping up speculation about a miraculous playoff return. But Stevens promptly squashed that idea, telling the press Hayward is “not playing this year.”

Apparently Hayward didn’t receive the memo. Days later, he said still hopes he can come back. Since then, we’ve seen Hayward pick up small balls with his toes, and them drop them into a bucket on the side. His trainers told him he did it faster than the previous time.

Hayward’s latest video shows him jogging past cones on the basketball court. The progress is impressive, although Stevens didn’t act like it. He stressed to reporters Monday Hayward’s lack of lateral movement. 

It’s apparent the Celtics have Hayward’s long-term interests in mind. They signed him to a four-year deal last summer and don’t want to risk his future viability for the sake of some rusty minutes off the bench. Hayward hasn’t played all season his long. It’s unrealistic to expect him to play any role in the playoffs.

But still, why the negativity? Stevens could offer encouraging words about Hayward without teasing his improbable return. On Monday, for example, Stevens called any of Hayward’s progress a “big step.” He could’ve just kept it at that, instead of mentioning how slowly Hayward was running or his lack of lateral movement. 

It’s almost as if Hayward’s Players’ Tribune videos annoy the Celtics. Perhaps they’re serving as some sort of subtweet, with Hayward intent on reminding the Celtics he still exists. 

Or maybe they’re nothing more than Hayward participating in the kind of harmless self-promotion that nearly every superstar engages in these days. But if that’s the case, and there’s no greater meaning to them, it’s difficult to fathom why Stevens seems so intent on pouring cold doses of reality over Hayward’s optimism. 

With the playoffs starting in a couple of weeks, it seems like this curious push-pull is destined to continue. 

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Source: GreenStreet Blog

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