Gordon Hayward’s initial return timetable after suffering a broken left-hand last month was six weeks. However, as BSJ first reported earlier today, that return will be coming far sooner than expected in coming days.
The 29-year-old forward went through a light practice with his teammates Sunday at the Auerbach Center and opened the door to returning to the floor just four weeks after his initial surgery against the Cavs on Monday night.
“Tomorrow’s a possibility,” Hayward said. “See how I feel when I wake up, go through shoot-around, see how it goes.”
Hayward had a plate inserted into his hand to help with the healing last month and said the bone has fully recovered following the procedure. The challenge now appears to be getting over the mental aspect of playing through the soreness that will be lingering as he regains full strength and motion.
“The bone is healed. I can’t do anything that’s going to hurt it,” Hayward explained. “I’m going to have to get hit equally as hard, probably more than last time, because I have the metal in my hand now. So the bone is healed. I can’t hurt it worse. It’s almost like playing through the pain, the tissues that I have in my hand, those are a lot slower to recover, so those are going to be sore a little bit. Motion and strength is going to take a little while to get back; it’s whether or not you can play through that and still be effective. That’s kind of what we’re determining, but the bone is healed.”
While the four-week recovery timetable may appear to be well ahead of schedule, it’s actually quite similar when compared to other NBA players that have suffered similar injuries. Aron Baynes returned four weeks after having surgery done to repair a break in his hand last season. The quick recovery did not come as much of a surprise to the swingman.
“I think as it’s steadily improving and can do more and more, you start to think coming back a little bit earlier,” Hayward admitted. “I think you set the timeline a little bit later than what you’re hoping for just so that you guys and everyone else isn’t like, ‘If you’re late like, what’s the deal?’”