Gordon Hayward has 'hope' he'll be able to return this season

Hayward suffered a gruesome leg injury in Boston’s 2017-18 opener against the Cavaliers and missed the rest of the season.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was blunt last week saying Gordon Hayward was "not playing this year," but the star forward apparently isn't on board with that idea.

"The hope is still there," Hayward told reporters Friday. "It's something where I'm really honestly not even thinking about it. I know we're getting toward the end of the year. It's something that I'm still working toward, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen."

Hayward has been out since the first game of the NBA season after fracturing his ankle in the first quarter of his debut against the Cavaliers.

Both Stevens and Celtics general manager Danny Ainge have been adamant in saying Hayward is not going to play again this season, but the 27-year-old forward doesn't want to get ahead of himself.

"My thoughts are that I take it day by day. And I said that from the very beginning, that's what I would do, not putting a timetable on it," Hayward said.

The Celtics are 46-19 without Hayward on the floor this season. They have won six of their last seven games and clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Timberwolves Thursday, but the fact is, if Hayward is able to come back, Boston would be a much better team in the postseason.

MORE: Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward's recovery: 'He's not playing this year'

In the meantime Hayward is just worrying about recovering.

"The recovery is going well," he said. "I'm progressing well. I was in the facility this morning, will be in the facility tomorrow. And that's kinda my goal -- just really focusing day by day."