Whether you are a Boston Celtics fan or someone rooting for an NBA team that could stand a chance at halting the Golden State Warriors' dominant run, the latest news regarding their superstars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, will sound like music to your ears. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge relayed to ESPN that Irving and Hayward are nearing 100 percent and should be ready to go by the start of training camp in late September.
"I don't want to hype it up too much, but I'm saying that if our training camp were starting today that they would be here today going full speed," Ainge remarked. "It's not like they need an extra month. I think that they know they have an extra month, so they are sort of pacing themselves. They're playing as if to build up to that opening day of training camp [Sept. 26]."
Ainge provided a detailed breakdown of where both Irving and Hayward stand on their respective rehab assignments, and what is expected of them in the coming weeks. “They'll both be here within the next week or so; by the time Labor Day is over, they will all be playing 5-on-5," Ainge said. "I think it's just a matter of, if they're not playing 5-on-5 now, then it's only because they want it more of a controlled environment, I guess. They're doing everything -- dunking the basketball off both legs and playing one-on-one live and jumping and cutting and defending. I'm excited for them."
Earlier this year, Irving underwent a procedure on his left knee that should have kept him out of action for three to six weeks. The timetable for his return was extended beyond the postseason when he had a second procedure done where two screws were removed from his patella that were inserted in his knee after he fractured the bone during the 2015 NBA Finals.
Hayward appears to entering the home stretch of his recovery from a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle that he suffered in the Celtics’ season opener last year. In June, Hayward needed a second surgery after doctors determined that they needed to remove the hardware used to repair his ankle as it was slowing down his recovery process.
With the Celtics at full strength, the team are heavy favorites to take the Eastern Conference this upcoming season in light of the departure of LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics' success this year depends on the health on Hayward and Irving, and Ainge appears more than pleased with the outlook of their recovery as the season looms near.