Boston Celtics

Gordon Hayward is ready for his second Celtics debut

After losing his first season in Boston to injury, Gordon Hayward is ready for his second chance to get off to a good start.

When the Boston Celtics open the 2018-19 season against the Philadelphia 76ers, Gordon Hayward is looking forward to finally being on the court. In a way, he will be making his debut with the Celtics, even though he technically has been with Boston for a year now and played about five minutes during last year’s season opener.

But five minutes was all Hayward would get last season, as he suffered a broken ankle in the first game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. After becoming one of the most highly anticipated free agent signings of last offseason, giving Boston fans hope that their team would be competing for a championship in 2018, Hayward’s first season with his new team didn’t turn out as planned.

Now, he’ll get his second chance to get off to a good start with the Celtics, and he believes he’s almost back to perfect health.

“Two weeks now, playing full-court basketball, five-on-five. Pretty much no restrictions,” Hayward said via Yahoo Sports. “I’m still trying to keep a progression of how much time and how much load I’m putting on that ankle, but for the most part I’m feeling very, very well. It’s so much fun to be able to play again. The next month or so will be good to get back into the game, to feel the rhythm, the timing.”

Had injuries not plagued the Celtics last season, they may have been in the NBA Finals this summer. Instead they lost Hayward in the season opener, then lost superstar point guard Kyrie Irving later in the season due to knee trouble. They still made it all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals even without the two of them.

Next: WNBA season-ending grades

If all goes well, the Celtics will be competing for a title in the summer of 2019. But right now, the focus is getting everyone back on the court completely healthy, and giving Hayward an opportunity to make his second Celtics debut.

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