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Ainge: Hayward had recent setback in recovery from leg injury

Omar Rawlings / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Gordon Hayward wants nothing more than to return to the Boston Celtics this season from a catastrophic leg injury. Unfortunately, it's his desire and commitment to getting healthy that may keep him sidelined.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge revealed on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "The Toucher and Rich Show" on Thursday that Hayward suffered a setback a month-and-a-half ago in his recovery from a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia.

The setback - a result of the 27-year-old forward pushing himself too hard in his rehabilitation - added a couple of weeks to his timetable but doesn't change the fact that he's expected to be ready to go on opening night for the 2018-19 regular season.

"We were progressing a little too fast, we thought," said Ainge, according to Yahoo Sports' Ben Rohrbach. "He's got a ways to go, but we're excited about his progress."

Hayward has been consistently optimistic that he'd be back at some point this year, and was even seen on video recently walking around and taking shots on the hardwood. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, however, has shut down that notion, saying point blank that Hayward is "not playing this year."

Related - Hayward not ready to give up on season: 'Something I'm still working for'

His injury occurred just minutes into Boston's season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on Oct. 17. Hayward signed a four-year max contract with the organization over the summer after spending the first seven years of his career with the Utah Jazz.

The Celtics have gone 46-22 in his absence and are the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

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