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Inside Gordon Hayward’s misery-filled fight to play again

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It was Hayward’s first time playing one-on-one against an NBA starter since undergoing an unexpected second surgery in late May to remove a plate and screws from around the left ankle Hayward shattered five minutes into his Celtics career. The discovery that he needed another surgery had devastated Hayward. It threw his rehabilitation timetable into disarray. By Aug. 28, he was supposed to have been months into five-on-five games against NBA competition. Now, he was easing into one-on-one.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

“I wasn’t thinking ‘I’m gonna kill this guy,'” Hayward told ESPN.com Tuesday night, after another disappointing preseason game for the Celtics. “I was thinking it would show me what I needed to work on.”

Beal told Drew Hanlen, the popular skills trainer who holds court at St. Bernard and tinkered with Hayward’s game over the summer, that he was confident.3

They started from the post, and could only dribble twice before shooting. Then they moved to the perimeter and allowed themselves three dribbles.

Hayward swept five straight games. “He surprised the hell out of me,” Beal says. Beal called Mark Bartelstein, the agent who represents both.

“I have good news and bad news,” Beal said, the two recalled. “I might suck, but Gordon is 100 percent back.”

It was a watershed moment for Hayward — a glimpse of hope after a year of arduous rehab, intense anxiety, and the gut punch of a second operation.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“I was definitely surprised,” Hayward says. “There had been so many low moments. That was a huge, huge confidence booster.”

Bullying Beal was a great sign. Hanlen and Hayward knew defenses would switch against Boston’s best lineups. They spent much of the summer working on posting up smaller players.

But relying on one-on-one work as September approached was also a reminder of how far behind Hayward was. It is showing so far in the preseason. Hayward is just 5-of-20 from the floor, and has committed eight fouls in 59 minutes.

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