Gordon Hayward has given his boot the boot.
Two months after his Boston Celtics debut and the 2017-18 season were spoiled by a gruesome leg injury — a left ankle dislocation-fracture — the former Utah Jazz star is now moving about on his own without crutches or a walking boot.
"Today has been awesome without the walking boot," Hayward told ESPN.
The 27-year-old made a public appearance on Wednesday, and video showed him walking on his own.
"I feel all right, I guess as well as I could," Hayward told reporters Wednesday. "I'm out of the boot right now so that's good, and I'm slowly getting better. The process is so fluid that for right now I'm out of the boot, but depending on how things go I could get out of the boot, so we'll see."
Hayward, who signed with the Celtics this summer after playing in Utah for seven years, recently was able to ditch his crutches and now gets around with a small brace, which he'll wear for about three months, according to The Boston Globe. The paper recently reported that he's able to stand still and shoot baskets after being limited to shooting while sitting in a chair in previous weeks.
The Celtics aren't counting on his return this season — or at least haven't let that out publically — but Hayward told The Globe that he's still hoping to play before 2018-19.
"It’s definitely in the back of my mind," Hayward said. "I’m definitely pushing to get back as fast as I can while making sure that I still have a lot of good years of basketball in me. And coming back early and hurting something else is not part of that plan. So I’m making sure that if I come back, I’m 1,000 percent confident in myself and my leg. I hope more than anything I can play this season. That would be awesome. But that’s not something I’m stressing about. I’m stressing about what I can do today to help myself get better."
Hayward's personal trainer moved in with him to help him with his rehab, The Globe reported.
Hayward's progress is happening quicker than some anticipated, but he told the Boston paper that he still has rough moments. Some days his ankle swells more than others and he struggles to do leg exercises.
"I remember times," Hayward said, "just sitting in the car before we were about to go in the facility, like, 'Here we go again with this. I don’t want to do this today. A week into it and I’m already sick of it.'"
Hayward's rehab will now veer towards him progressing from an exercise bike to an elliptical machine and an anti-gravity treadmill, according to The Globe. It will be a while before he can run and do drills that require him to cut on the court.
"It sucks because you feel like, 'All right, I'm really progressing,'" Hayward said. "I'm out of the boot. I’m in the brace. And then you realize the long road you still have to go."
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