Hopefully today will be the last day we have to talk about Gordon. —Jazz forward Joe Ingles
BOSTON — Donovan Mitchell is balling.
Joe Johnson and Rodney Hood are back.
The Utah Jazz are in the toughest stretch of the season.
With all these storylines centered on the team, they couldn’t get around coming to Boston for the lone time this year and not hearing about former Jazzman Gordon Hayward at Friday’s shootaround.
Nope. That wasn’t happening.
“Hopefully today will be the last day we have to talk about Gordon,” said Jazz forward Joe Ingles. “It is what it is. He’s a grown man. He made the decision and we’ve all moved on. The sun is still coming up each day and we’re all good.”
Hayward obviously won’t be playing tonight, as he recovers from his gruesome left ankle injury in the season opener. He left the Jazz after last year’s All-Star season and playoff run to sign with the Celtics for four years.
He told ESPN’s Chris Forsberg that it’ll be weird watching his former teammates on the floor without him.
"I think I’m going to be able to hang out with them a little bit, catch up ... I know they’re going to bring everything they have,” Hayward said to Forsberg. “This is a game that they circled on the calendar for sure. I definitely wish that I was playing but it’s going to be a fun game to watch."
Ingles and Hayward built a solid friendship throughout their tenure in Utah and met up on Thursday once the Jazz arrived in town.
“We had some food last night,” Joe Ingles said. “It’s good to catch up with him but obviously as of today, he’s on the other team and we want to smack them and they want to smack us. It’s going to be fun.”
Rudy Gobert said he hasn’t heard from Hayward, though.
“I don’t know what he was doing but no I didn’t really get a chance to catch up,” Gobert said.
Utah (13-15) is looking to snap its four-game losing streak against Boston (24-6), who is ranked No. 1 in the Eastern Conference. The Jazz have the second-worst road record (2-10) in the Western Conference and are looking to bounce back from an embarrassing 103-100 loss to the Chicago Bulls. Utah hasn’t won in Boston since March 14, 2008.
Worrying about Hayward and his recovery, at this particular moment, is at the bottom of the list of Utah’s concerns but they do wish him well as he recently began walking without a boot.
“I just hope he can be back,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “I think he will be back, but I hope he can be back soon.”