Gordon Hayward fully expects to play in Celtics' opener

Kyrie taking a course at Harvard

Kyrie taking a course at Harvard

The Celtics' top free-agent acquisition of the 2017 summer, Hayward was injured in the first quarter of the first game of the season when he landed awkwardly on his left leg, breaking his tibia and dislocating his ankle.

Sports Boston's Sherrod A. Blakely dropped some exclusive reporting news on the Bulls Talk Podcast on Wednesday, saying that the New York Knicks are going to pursue All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in free agency. He spent the entirety of last season rehabbing and recovering from the gruesome injury - a process he called "the most hard thing [he's] done".

"The last step for me as far as from a physical standpoint is like the little explosion, that little last juice, bounce that you get", Hayward said. I'm not 100 percent as far as basketball-wise, just because I haven't played in a year. There are certain things that I think are going to take time. He said he's not playing with anxiety and is focused on regaining his rhythm and sense of timing.

Blakely doesn't think Irving's interest is as strong as some have reported, but he does suggest the Celtics can feel confident about re-signing the 26-year-old if they perform to their expectations this season. Hayward said he also expects to be ready for team's regular season opener on October 16th vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. Like many of his teammates, he expressed no concerns about starting versus coming off the bench.

‘Storm of lifetime’: Hurricane Florence barrels toward Carolinas as residents flee
Crews board up the Oceanic restaurant in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, in preparation for Hurricane Florence . Some 7,000 guard members are ready to mobilize in North Carolina, while 1,100 will be activated in SC .

Speaking at the new practice facility named for Red Auerbach, Hayward said he celebrated each bit of progress - the walking boot coming off, or shooting baskets standing up, instead of sitting in a chair. "We're anxious about winning and putting another banner up".

Hayward said he gained a lot of confidence from watching the team compete last season, so he's eager to finally join them on the floor. They have to make the push towards one of those last playoff spots to have any shot at landing Kyrie Irving.

"We have so much talent on this team".

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