Gordon Hayward is not even hinting at when he might return for the Boston Celtics, but he also isn't letting the horrific leg injury he suffered in the season opener keep him off the court.
Addressing the media on Thursday for the first time since he suffered a dislocated ankle and broken tibia minutes into his Celtics debut on October 17, Hayward said he is "putting zero expectations" on a timetable for his return.
He also noted that he planned to follow up his news conference by doing a bit of shooting from a chair, the newest wrinkle in what will be a lengthy rehab process for the 27-year-old forward.
"To be out on the court and have a basketball... that was an incredible feeling to start that process," Hayward told reporters, adding: "Shooting out of a chair is a little different than shooting standing up. I feel a little short."
Hayward said the initial days of being confined to bed with his foot elevated were difficult to take, and he continues to process his emotions over the injury.
"Daily I still have negative thoughts," he acknowledged. "It's hard not to."
Hayward said he has seen the video of his injury, noting that the clip was difficult to avoid given the proliferation of social media. But his focus now is firmly on moving ahead.
The former Utah Jazz man said he immediately heard from Paul George, who suffered a similar injury in August 2014, and expects to remain in touch with the Oklahoma City Thunder star regularly as his rehab continues.
That communication with George and simply being around his new team-mates in Boston figure to provide a boost for Hayward. He said just being able to hang around the team in recent days has been a boost to his mental health, and he's eager for doctors to clear him to sit on the bench during games sometime soon.
"I'm definitely a little more mobile than I was two weeks ago. I'm on the road to recovery and I'm excited to attack that." - Gordon Hayward pic.twitter.com/F8v0obYfkK-- Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 2, 2017