BOSTON -? Celtics forward Gordon Hayward visited TD Garden on Friday night to see his former team play his current one, and reaffirmed that a return is possible this season.
Hayward, who stepped out of his boot on Wednesday, less than two months after fracturing his left ankle at the Boston season opener in Cleveland, made his second TD Garden appearance this season in the hope of interacting with his ex partners in Utah Jazz.
When asked if there was any chance he would return this season, Hayward echoed what he said earlier this week by noting he does not rule it out.
"My mind is open to that," Hayward said of a possible return. "I try to come back as quickly as possible, it all depends on how I recover, I'll take it day after day, goal by goal, we'll see what happens."
Hayward signed a four-year, $ 128 million contract with the Celtics this summer. Jazz fans, and even Hayward's former teammates, were dumbfounded by his departure, especially by the way the news was first leaked through an ESPN report before Hayward finally confirmed it in an extensive blog post
Hayward was asked if he had any regrets his departure.
"No, I do not regret anything," he said. "Unfortunately, I got injured, but I'm happy to be here in Boston, I'm glad to be part of this team."
He pressed on the process of making his decision, Hayward added, "It was a dizzying experience, I do not know if I could do it faster than I did, I went through the country three times, paying my own private flight to get there. Obviously, I've talked about it before, but disappointed with the leak and everything, but the decision was not made until the decision was made and that's it, that's how I feel about it. "
The jazz players expressed sympathy for Hayward given the seriousness of his injury, but he did not seem interested in focusing too much on his former teammate.
"Gordon was a great player, a great player for us," said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. "And I think everyone understands the decision he made, so seeing him hurt was hard, we felt horrible for him, and I think most of the guys in our team came up, I know I did it and I think I was grateful At this point, we wish you the best in your rehabilitation, I hope you have returned soon.
"At the same time, our group also moved forward. So that's separate from Gordon's injury. I think that with regard to his injury, everyone feels for him and wants him to be healthy. And, at the same time, we're in a position with our team now that we're getting into in the middle of the season, and we're focused on that too. "
Hayward was sorry he could not play in Friday's game.
"I find it more difficult, I wish I was out there," Hayward said. "It makes it harder to just sit and watch. This is a game that I had marked in a circle; I know they did it. And in front of my local audience, it would have been very fun. I'm just going to look and, like I said, I'll see those guys later. "
Hayward said he had planned to start playing more games at home once he was out of his boot, that Jazz was the opponent in the first game after abandoning the protective boot it was simply "coincidence".
Without the boot, Hayward can set new goals.
"I am able to do many more things, rehabilitation, such as standing up," Hayward said. " I do not have to shoot in a chair anymore. Slowly but surely, I will continue adding that. At the moment, I'm doing things with the bike, moving slowly to use a bit of both legs and then the next step is the two legs running and all that, so we'll get there. "