BOSTON — Gordon Hayward walked into TD Garden sporting a freshly decorated splint on his fractured left hand, courtesy of two of his favorite artists.
“Charlotte Hayward and Bernadette Hayward,” he said, ticking off some of the stickers they had affixed to the splint. “Puppies, unicorns, rainbows. I tried to get them to not use purple and go with some green but they were pretty adamant about the colors they picked, so I guess an artist is going to be an artist.”
The lighthearted moment was indicative of the more positive feelings behind what Hayward described as a frustrating injury.
“I felt like we were building good momentum as a team, as well as me individually, so, timing of it definitely frustrating,” He said. “But I think with all things considered it’s not that bad. Should be healed up pretty nicely, pretty soon, so happy for that.”
Hayward still isn’t sure exactly how the fracture happened. The play, he says, seemed benign, but he knew right away something was wrong. The X-ray showed a clear break, and the surgery to insert a pin and plate should accelerate the healing process.
“Supposedly makes it stronger and makes it heal faster,” Hayward said. “I think that’s a good thing this time around.”
The splint on his hand is removable, which will help him maintain a range of motion. Once the bone is healed, Hayward can move on to the next phase of his rehab.
“You kind of have the pain-tolerance, can you play through it type phase,” Hayward explained. “So certainly with that phase it’ll be better that it is on my left hand, my non-dominant hand. That helps for sure.”
The team initially announced a six-week time frame, but Hayward sounded hopeful that, as he progresses, he can maybe move his return up a little bit. He won’t travel with the team on its upcoming West Coast trip, but he’ll be around them after that, which is a welcome difference to his last rehab routine that kept him mostly isolated.
“It’s drop in a bucket for sure,” he said. “It sucks watching and not being able to go out there and play, especially with the start that we’ve had. I think this time around, I’ll be able to run around, use my legs still, maintain my conditioning, which I’m very thrilled about and then be around the team, too. And kinda stay involved, which is good.