Boston Celtics star Gordon Hayward is speaking out about his road to recovery in a variety of ways, including a Today Show interview with Matt Lauer and a press conference Thursday morning.
Speaking to the media Thursday at the Celtics Walthham facility, Hayward said he has "daily" negative thoughts, especially as he watches the NBA season go forward.
When asked about holding out hope for a return this season, Hayward responded, "I'm putting zero expectations on myself as far as a timetable. For me, I want to get better today. Right after this I'm going to do some rehab and some chair shooting and that's what I'm focused on."
"I think there are positive things I can take from this," Hayward said about his recovery process.
Hayward says Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George has offered great support since the injury. Hayward was present when George suffered a horrific injury to his leg during a game in 2014.
"Paul George is a guy that texted me right when it happened. Paul and I have a good relationship since we were drafted in the same class," Hayward said. "We've talked back and forth and I'm sure he's someone I can lean on because he says the mental thing is the toughest part."
Hayward also said he plans to help mentor younger players and assist with scouting reports as he heals.
"The future is definitely bright for our team," he said about the current roster.
In a personal Facebook note posted Wednesday, Hayward described his experience from the time of his injury through the start of his journey back to the NBA.
After Hayward crashed to the floor with a dislocated ankle in his first game with the Celtics, he says he experienced the most pain he'd ever felt in his life and was frightened that he'd never play basketball again.
"I've started by watching the games. At first, it was just grueling to try and watch. I was overwhelmed with frustration, knowing that I can't be a part of it right now. I'm not even with the team. It's hard mentally to watch the games because I'm sitting here thinking, 'I'm not going to be able to help the team on the court this year,'" Hayward wrote.
Despite his pain and frustration, Hayward is looking forward.
"Now, it's all about getting back," he wrote. "Time to begin."