Gordon Hayward takes another step forward in recovery from broken hand

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

BOSTON — Gordon Hayward’s expected return remains weeks away, but the 29-year-old forward took part in some contact drills on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing surgery on his broken left hand.

Hayward was cleared for the contact at a doctors’ checkup that occurred three weeks after his initial surgery on Monday.

“It went well,” Hayward said of the appointment. “I played a little kind of like hybrid contact today with coaches and stuff. It’s definitely sore and I think that’s something I’ve got to work through. I’ve got to work through that to make my hand stronger, and hopefully, over the next couple of days, I can do that and get it kind of more the same strength of my right hand. I think it’s going to be a little while, and plus I was right-hand dominant anyway. So it’s definitely going to probably not be the exact same, but get it more strengthened so the percentage is closer to my right.”

“Good. Looks good,” Brad Stevens added of Hayward's recovery. “Cleared for a little bit more today. Did most of practice. We didn’t do anything live. When we went like a controlled live he acted as an official. So, making real strides, I guess.”

The initial Celtics timetable had Hayward projected to return six weeks after the surgery just ahead of Christmas and there has been no adjustment to that plan as of now.

“It’s still hard to say exactly,” Hayward admitted when asked about a return plan. “But we have some good days here at home where I can practice and really do the things I want to do and kind of feel it out and see how it responds. I did a lot on it today, so I think it’s going to be more sore. It might swell up, so hopefully as soon as I’m done here go ice it and get some of the swelling down and kind of just take it day by day.”

The Celtics are scheduled for two more practices in the next seven days in the midst of a three-game homestand, and that, combined with a lengthy break between games on Dec. 12 and Dec. 18, should give Hayward ample time