Boston Celtics

The Celtics will limit scoring wing Gordon Hayward’s minutes out of the gate, head coach Brad Stevens confirmed Monday.

“He’ll be a little bit restricted from a minutes standpoint as we progress through this early part of the season,” Stevens, who expects to limit the 28-year-old Hayward to 25 minutes per night out of the gate, said after practice. “That’s just to make sure we ramp it back up so that he’s feeling great towards the end of the year and years beyond.”

Entering the second year of a four-year, $128 million max contract with the Celtics, Hayward is looking to successfully rebound from what was a season-ending ankle/leg injury suffered just five minutes into the first game of the 2017-18 season.

Given such a layoff, Hayward obviously and noticeably struggled to find his rhythm in the preseason, with makes on just five of his 20 shots (and a 1-for-10 mark from behind the arc) with 19.7 minutes per night in his three preseason appearances. And on top of his on-court struggles, Hayward also dealt with a back ailment that kept him out of the team’s preseason finale.

The Celtics can also afford to take it slow with Hayward given what they have as his backup, with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum obviously ready and capable after last year’s breakthroughs, and with veteran Marcus Morris also on the C’s bench.

But that doesn’t mean Hayward, while accepting of his situation, has to like the restrictions the team is putting on him.

“That’s something that as a player you can’t stand,” Hayward admitted when asked about the minutes restriction. “If you were to ask all the players, I think we all want to be out there the whole game. But I understand as far as what happened and trying to make sure that I’m going on an upward path. I have to accept that.”

The Celtics open their season Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.