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Gordon Hayward’s recovery ‘going well,’ says Brad Stevens

Stan Grossfield/Globe staff/File

A month ago, Gordon Hayward was relegated to shooting baskets from a chair to keep sharp.

By Globe Staff 

A bit of a stir was created on Wednesday afternoon when Gordon Hayward’s wife, Robyn, posted a short video on her Instagram page in which Hayward was no longer wearing a walking boot on his injured left ankle.

But Celtics coach Brad Stevens said that Hayward has not yet completely shed the protective footwear.

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“He wears the boot until a certain time every evening and then he can take it off,” Stevens said. “When he moves around, he can move around with a brace that’s like a boot. He is progressing and doing what he can do, what he’s been cleared to do. It’s been going well.”

In the video, Hayward can be seen sitting barefoot at a desk at his house while playing a video game. The All-Star forward suffered a grisly fracture dislocation of his ankle in the first quarter of the Celtics’ season opener against the Cavaliers on Oct. 17. He underwent surgery and was in a cast for about two weeks before it was replaced by the walking boot.

The Celtics have consistently said that Hayward is expected to miss the entire season, but with more than four months remaining until the playoffs begin, each positive step will likely be met with cautious optimism by an eager fan base.

“He still wears a boot when he comes over to the gym,” Stevens said. “He’s wearing the boot for most of the day. So, yeah, but he can certainly take that [off].”

Brown, Morris sit

Jaylen Brown missed Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks with an irritated right eye while Marcus Morris sat out due to a sore left knee.

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Stevens said that when Brown woke up on Wednesday morning he could not open his swollen eye. He said it was unclear what caused the corneal inflammation, but that it was likely from a contact lens. Stevens said Brown is expected to be fine by Thursday morning.

Morris has been battling knee soreness since missing the start of the season with the issue. He has been on a minutes restriction, and when the Celtics have had games on back-to-back nights, he has played in only one of them.

“Most days after the game he’s got some soreness, and most of the time that’s gone by the time the 36-hour mark hits,” Stevens said. “Today, he was still a little bit sore, so we thought it would be best to sit out tonight as we prepare for quite a stretch of games coming up.”

Stevens said that both Brown and Morris will join the Celtics on their upcoming three-game road trip.

Marcus Smart started in place of Brown Wednesday but scored just 2 points on 1-of-5 shooting in 34 minutes.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Playing increased minutes on Wednesday, Daniel Theis picked up the Boston frontcourt with 7 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block.

Barea giving back

Mavericks guard and Northeastern alumnus J.J Barea has worked diligently to raise money for relief efforts in his native Puerto Rico since Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck there earlier this year. Northeastern coach Bill Coen noticed, and recently sent Barea a text message saying that the school wanted to help.

When the Huskies faced Bucknell on Tuesday night, Barea returned to campus to assist the school with its “Paws for Puerto Rico” fund-raiser.

“It was great,” said Barea. “Coach Coen saw what I was doing for Puerto Rico in Dallas, and it was good timing that they had a game last night. It was his idea and we went with it.”

Northeastern T-shirts were given to anyone who donated money to the cause on Tuesday night. Barea said it was a success.

“It was good,” he said. “It’s great to be back, and seeing the school help me out and help Puerto Rico out, it’s always awesome. It’s always special. Every time I come back to Boston is special for me. I love this town. Northeastern, I went from a kid to a man.”

Barea said he was unsure how much money was raised, but that he was grateful for the support.

“Anything it was will help,” he said. “It was great for them to do that for Puerto Rico.”

After the storms struck the island, Barea used Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s team plane to deliver supplies there. He has also raised more than $500,000 via a YouCaring page.

Jim Davis/Globe staff

Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, here battling Shane Larkin for a loose ball, spent his day off Tuesday at his alma mater, Northeastern.

Noel to have surgery

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said Wednesday night that Everett native Nerlens Noel will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb and be sidelined for several weeks.

“[The injury] is just affecting his ability to catch the ball and things like that,” Carlisle said.

Noel’s playing time has decreased drastically in recent weeks, and he had not appeared in the Mavericks’ last five games. He has played in 18 games this season, averaging just 12.5 minutes per contest.

The Mavericks traded for Noel last season, but this year he turned down the team’s four-year, $70 million contract offer to sign a one-year, $4.1 million qualifying offer, essentially betting that he could receive an even bigger payday next year.

On Saturday, he created a stir when he was photographed getting a hot dog from the media room during halftime of the Mavericks’ game against the Clippers.

“He realized that was a mistake,” Carlisle said. “And my No. 1 thing, and our No. 1 thing as a team, franchise, is just getting him 100 percent healthy, and let’s go from here.”


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.