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CELTICS NOTEBOOK

Gordon Hayward’s rehab is on schedule, not ahead of it

Gordon Hayward hasn’t ruled out a return this year, but the Celtics are being much more cautious.
Gordon Hayward hasn’t ruled out a return this year, but the Celtics are being much more cautious.(jessica rinaldi/globe staff)

LONDON — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge posted a picture on Twitter Tuesday showing forward Gordon Hayward standing on the deck of an indoor pool without a brace protecting his surgically repaired left ankle.

The photo fueled speculation that Hayward could be progressing faster than expected, but coach Brad Stevens said Wednesday that is not the case. He said he was unsure whether Hayward has completely shed the brace, and even if he has, the road to recovery remains long.

“This is exactly what they thought the timeline would be like,” Stevens said. “And just being out of a brace, there’s a long way to go.”

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Hayward suffered a dislocation-fracture of his left ankle in Boston’s Oct. 17 season opener against the Cavaliers in Cleveland. The Celtics have consistently said they do not expect the All-Star forward to return this year, but Hayward has not ruled out the possibility.

Stevens said that even though Hayward is not nearing a return, his consistent progress has been encouraging.

“All the way from the surgery to the rehab and everything else, it’s been great,” Stevens said. “That said, he hasn’t done anything on the court. There’s so many boxes still to check, but it’s great that he’s making good strides. But the timelines and those things don’t change.”

Whole new world

As of Wednesday afternoon, Stevens said he had yet to explore London, but if nothing else, he has appreciated the change of scenery.

“It’s great to get a chance to play in London and be abroad and experience a brand-new city,” he said. “Like, the other 29 NBA cities, when you land, you know exactly where you’re going to eat. You know exactly the running trails and everything else from a coaching perspective.

“But I think, yeah, there’s a lot of positives here. Most importantly, it’s the opportunity to represent the game globally.”

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