Gordon Hayward Mentally Wary of NBA Return

The 2018-19 NBA season is just around the corner and cage fans are eager to see their favorite basketball stars back in action. There have been a lot of movements in the NBA league thus far and most have almost forgotten someone from the Eastern Conference – Gordon Hayward.

One of the big stories before the 2017-18 NBA season got underway, Hayward saw action for a total of about 5 minutes with his new team, the Boston Celtics. It will be recalled that the 28-year-old cager suffered a gruesome ankle injury right on his very first game with the Celtics. This was that game opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers where the former first-round pick land awkwardly following an alley-oop attempt, ESPN said.

Eleven months later, Hayward reveals that he is “basically” 100-percent. However, he cautions that he is not entirely ready in a basketball sense, most likely with reference to conditioning his mind playing with a surgically repaired ankle.

“The hardest part of the whole process has been the mental challenge,” Hayward said on Thursday, as he prepares himself to be on the court for their Oct. 16 opener against the Philadelphia 76ers. “I think you find the fight within yourself,” he added in a report from the Associated Press via the Manila Bulletin.

The Butler University standout did try to return in the latter part of the NBA season although a follow-up surgery prevented him for doing so. This was a procedure needed to remove the plate and screws that were implanted in his fibula from the original surgery.

The delay loomed as logical considering he would have had a hard time penetrating the Celtics lineup. Boston reached the NBA Eastern Conference Finals with the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown stepping up on his behalf.

For Hayward, that opportunity to get back his basketball legs is wide open. But before he can do his old on-court tricks, Hayward needs to get over the trauma originating from the injury and the rehab which he referred to as “most difficult.”

It has been an unforgettable 11-months for Hayward and he hopes to recalibrate himself come the opening night of the NBA regular season. He plans to suit up for the Celtics’ four-game preseason games, something that he hopes can further boost his confidence before the regular cage wars.

While Gordon Hayward has his work cut out for him, there is one thing he plans not to do – watch the video of that unfortunate injury.

"I haven't watched it. Scrolling through Instagram -- you know how today's social media works -- I've seen it on my search feed a little bit, but I haven't watched the video," said Hayward. "I don't plan on watching the video. I'm moving forward -- and past it."

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