Dr. Flynn’s Mailbag: Hayward, Gilmore, team docs and the prognosis for twinkle toes

(David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Hi everyone! I really appreciate all of the great questions you submitted this week. Would love to hear from you for future editions, so make sure you check out the contact information at the bottom of the page.

The biggest thing on everyone’s mind this week? Gordon Hayward. Right after the injury occurred, I wrote about it here on BSJ. Since then, Hayward has had surgery and is on his way toward recovery. There have been varying reports from sources around Hayward and sometimes reports sound like a bad game of “telephone,” where the reported end-product doesn’t sound so much like the initial message. I’ll do my best to decipher them for you here.

The question is in reference to Gordon Hayward. Based on the information that has been disclosed (‘clean’ broken tibia, dislocated ankle) is the recovery time frame of 4 months accurate? - (Nathaniel Donovan)

Hayward’s injury has been confirmed to be a tibiotalar fracture-dislocation. This means that the ankle joint was disrupted - in this case, the tibia was fractured, ligaments were torn. I know that initial reports were that it was a “clean break” and there was “no ligament damage,” but after the surgery, our own Brian Robb reported the following:


Lots of structures in the ankle joint need to break or tear for an ankle to look like Hayward’s did. My initial timetable of 4-6 months is unchanged. I do not think that we will see any meaningful basketball from the Celtics’ forward this season.

Here’s the silver lining: I do expect to see LOTS of meaningful basketball next season, and the season after. Last night Mike Petraglia reported that league sources had told him “no joint damage is the key reason that those close to Gordon Hayward feel optimistic for full (relatively fast) recovery.” Here’s the thing - the joint was traumatized. There was a ton of joint damage. But I suspect that this may mean there was no joint surface damage. If the shiny, silvery cartilage lining (silver lining) of the joint is injured that can be a much longer recovery. This is great news for next season and Hayward’s career going forward.

Another Hayward question - I’m sorry, I could only pick a couple!

Getting my question in a bit early this week, but after seeing the injury last night to Hayward, and feeling ill for the first time in forever, I’m wondering how different a break is from ligament tears in terms of returning to peak performance. I.E., is an ankle break like last night’s easier to come back from and be at the top of your game than say an ACL injury like Edelman’s? Or is it really up in the air and completely individual? The reason I ask, other than wanting to hear something positive, is I tore a couple ligaments in my foot/ankle a couple years back, and was told recovery is actually longer and more inexact than if I had just broken my ankle and I’m wondering if that’s at all true. Also, I really appreciate the articles I’ve seen from you on BSJ. Not sure what the deal is with people being offended, but I guess that’s their prerogative. I like it though, for what it’s worth. (Josh P.)