Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving would be ready to go if training camp started today.
“I don’t want to hype it up too much, but I’m saying that, if our training camp were starting today, that they would be here today going full speed,” Ainge told ESPN. “It’s not like they need an extra month. I think that they know they have an extra month, so they are sort of pacing themselves. They’re playing as if to build up to that opening day of training camp [Sept. 26].”
Hayward (ankle) and Irving (knee) are recovering from season-ending injuries and are expected to return to Boston next week.
“By the time Labor Day is over, they will all be playing five-on-five,” Ainge said. “If they’re not playing five-on-five now, then it’s only because they want it more of a controlled environment, I guess.
“They’re doing everything — dunking the basketball off both legs and playing one-on-one live and jumping and cutting and defending.”
Celtics point guard Terry Rozier said at his basketball clinic Saturday that the players have been texting one another to organize informal workouts and pickup games prior to training camp.
Though Ainge said Hayward and Irving will be full participants, he also acknowledged there will still be a transition for the rehabbing players and that the team will be cautious with their level of activity.
“I’m really excited about the upcoming season with [Irving and Hayward],” Ainge said. “Obviously, there’s a transition from rehabbing to playing one-on-one to playing three-on-three to five-on-five and then playing NBA basketball, so I don’t want to build up expectations too high. I think there will be a little bit of an adjustment once that last phase is made.”