Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics planned their entire 2017 offseason around Gordon Hayward.

The star free agent of the 2017 class, Hayward dominated the Fourth of July news cycle when he opted to sign a max contract with the Celtics. Unfortunately, a gruesome leg injury suffered in the opening five minutes of Boston’s season-opening loss to the Cavaliers was really all anybody got to see of Hayward of his first season in Boston. The story dominated the season.

Even as a 55-win Celtic team impressed and exceeded expectations at every turn, people continued to ask how Hayward was doing, what his timeline was looking like, and if and when No. 20 would be able to return to the C’s lineup.

Fittingly, Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked about it in a Q&A with The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach published on Monday. And Stevens, whose relationship with Hayward goes back to their days together at Butler University, gave another encouraging update on Hayward’s recovery from his devastating injury and subsequent surgeries since.

“Everything is good and pointed toward being back exactly where he was — hopefully pain free because that plate is taken out — in the middle of July, which probably points to an early August, mid-August fully cleared time frame,” Stevens said.

Stevens also said that Hayward is doing fine after what was a second surgery on his injured leg.

“We knew the timeline, but it was like, ‘Hey if you’re having this pain and we need to do this, let’s do it now, right,” Stevens said of Hayward’s second surgery. “And he was working really hard in Indy and he looked really good. Like, he was getting close to being able to do some two-on-two, three-on-three.

“But he just had a little bit of pain in the backside of his foot and that’s why they decided to remove the plate.”

Hayward, the ninth overall pick in 2010, averaged a career-best 21.9 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, shot 47.1 percent, and broke the 1,600-point plateau for the first time in his career during his final season with the Utah Jazz.