INDIANAPOLIS — The Celtics have worked diligently to keep forward Gordon Hayward engaged while he is sidelined indefinitely with a left ankle injury.
Over the past three months, they have assigned him various challenges, like shooting half-court shots from a chair and picking up marbles with his toes. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Monday that his regimen has also included some small film projects.
“One of them, we had one of our assistants clip up him from his first couple years of playing, which was pretty entertaining,” Stevens said, smiling. “Just looking at some of the mistakes, the floppy hair.”
Stevens said the Celtics are planning for Hayward to soon evaluate these clips with some of the younger players on the team “to talk about his growing pains and some of the things he had to go through.”
Hayward, who suffered a fracture-dislocation of his left ankle in Boston’s Oct. 17 season opener against the Cavaliers, was cleared to stop using crutches about three weeks ago, and last week he was able to fully replace his walking boot with a small ankle brace.
Stevens said that Hayward will eventually start joining the Celtics on some road trips, but mostly just the short ones.
The Celtics have played a league-leading 33 games, partly because their trip to London to play the 76ers next month will be bookended by a total of eight days off. The schedule has been grueling, and it has also offered minimal opportunities to practice.
“There’s probably not a day I’m looking forward to more than Dec. 30, when we practice,” Stevens said. “But we have to find our rhythm and find our groove through playing. We have to do it through shootarounds.”
Stevens said the difficult stretch has not been all bad, though.
“The good news I will say about this is we’re going to have a lot of information by the time January rolls around,” Stevens said, “who we are, what we’re capable of, what we need to tweak, what we need to change. And sometimes it’s probably better to have that information before you make those changes on a hunch.”
Celtics forward Marcus Morris had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his sore left knee Saturday, and Stevens said he is feeling better this week.
“[Morris] will ramp up basketball in the next couple of days, with the hope of playing sooner rather than later,” Stevens said.
Morris’s knee soreness has sidelined him for 14 games. It was determined that he would not need surgery, but Stevens said Monday that he would likely return with an “on-and-off schedule.”
“He probably won’t play every game, or obviously back-to-back games,” Stevens said. “A game, three days off, a game. Try it that way, and then progressing back to every other day. He won’t play back-to-backs for a while.”
Theis faces more work
Celtics backup center Daniel Theis is scheduled to have his broken nose “reset” Tuesday, and Stevens said he would then miss Boston’s game Wednesday against the Heat.
Theis suffered the injury when he was inadvertently elbowed in the first half of Boston’s loss to the Jazz on Friday. He has played in both games of this road trip while wearing a protective mask. Stevens said that as long as Theis feels all right, he will be able to return to the team Thursday.
Theis played 16:53 Monday, getting 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 fouls.
Stevens’s returns to his hometown here have not been the busman’s holidays that they once were.
“My first couple of years I would try to see as many people as I could,” Stevens said, “and I save that for the summer now. I always go on a jog, so I told one of my buddies to bring his running gear to town to work, so he joined me today. But I kept a pretty low profile and worked on the next game.”