Gordon Hayward: Depression much harder than pain of injury

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It was gruesome for anyone who watched it — just 5:15 into his Boston Celtics career, Gordon Hayward sat on the floor under the basket with his foot and ankle facing the wrong direction. There was no question from that moment he could well be out for the season.

What we don’t get to see is the rehab — the surgery, then the daily grind of physical therapy. Gordon joined The Dan Patrick Show (broadcast on NBC Sports Network) on Wednesday and talked about the injury. Patrick asked an insightful question: Which has been harder, the physical pain or the mental depression from the injury?

“Definitely the depression. It’s been painful, but it’s nothing like sitting around watching the team you were supposed to be playing with this year. I signed to play for the Boston Celtics this year now to only sit and watch the Boston Celtics this year. That part has been difficult and much more difficult to deal with than the pain.”

No, Hayward refused to put a timeline on his return. As you would expect.

“I work out every day to try to increase my range of motion and increase my strength in my legs so that I can be back as fast as I can. Whether that’s this year or this summer or next year, I will just let that happen. But for sure, as a competitor, I’m just trying to come back faster than anyone has ever done it.”

(If Hayward pushes himself and could be cleared to return for the playoffs in mid-April, or just before, would the Celtics allow it? Boston believes they can challenge Cleveland right now, but the organization is focused long term and they are not going to push Hayward back for this postseason.)

Check out the entire interview, where Hayward talks about his hot jersey sales and more.