Boston Celtics

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Loyal Toucher & Rich listeners were treated to Danny Ainge’s interviews just about every single week during the 2017-18 season. And as you may know, those talks always included the obligatory Gordon Hayward questions. To the point where Rich asked Danny just for good luck.

It’s been known for months that Hayward was never realistically going to return to the court for the C’s before the start of next season. But even so, there haven’t been many tangible updates on the star forward’s return from the gruesome broken fibula and dislocated ankle he suffered just minutes into the season opener. Just that he wouldn’t play in the current season.

Ainge finally loosened the valve a bit on those questions in his exit interview on Monday, estimating that Hayward could be back to full basketball activities before August.

“Gordon is progressing well,” Ainge said, via MassLive’s Tom Westerholm. “He’s on the court now, finally doing a little bit of competition, like just 1-on-1. And he’ll progress along that line slowly. We think that he’ll be playing basketball in the next couple months.”

Gordon Hayward

CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 17: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics warms up prior to playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Hayward would be eligible to play in the Las Vegas summer league from July 6-17 if he so desired, but it sounds like he won’t be ready by that time. So it’s likely that Hayward’s return to game action for the Celtics won’t come until the preseason in September.

But Ainge’s comments are, at least, a promising sign that Hayward is close to finally getting back on the court. After months of questions about when that would actually happen, there’s at least more of a clearly defined answer to go by.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.