The Players’ Tribune posted a video Monday showing Hayward jogging alongside trainer Jason Smeathers at Boston’s practice facility.
Smeathers noted it was Hayward’s first on-court run since the injury when he tweeted: “Doing some pace setting for [Hayward] for the first jog back on the court.”
Hayward had been running on the team’s alter-G anti-gravity treadmill and slowly ramping himself up to a level where he could be cleared to begin running on his full bodyweight.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens stressed that Hayward is still a “long, long way away” from basketball activities and reaffirmed that he’s not playing this season.
“I saw that video. It’s pretty slow running,” Stevens said. “I was up there watching it the other morning when they [filmed] that. The next step of his progression is once every three days he gets on the court and does that. So as you can see it was about 20 percent speed, nothing lateral, no jumping. So a long, long way away.
“We’ve said it before: We can talk about the videos. He’s not playing. But he might travel [with the team], and maybe we’ll list him as something.”
Stevens said that Hayward won’t travel with Boston on its upcoming two-game trip to Milwaukee and Toronto but left open the possibility of joining the team for the final regular-season road game in Washington.
Stevens did acknowledge that jogging is an encouraging step forward for Hayward.
“I think every day where he can accomplish something new is a big deal,” said Stevens. “He’s in here six days a week. He gets one off day a week where he gets to rest it and still gets treatment on it and everything else. But everything else, he gets those small accomplishments, and those are a big deal when you’re rehabbing.”
Hayward has remained steadfast that he’s simply taking his progress day-by-day and would not rule himself out for the season.
Boston (53-23) entered Monday second in the Eastern Conference standings with six games remaining in the regular season.
“The hope is still there,” Hayward said last month. “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.”
Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown hadn’t seen Hayward running yet but said he knows his teammate is eager to get on the court.
“It’s good to see him back. He’s going to continue to get better and I know the one thing he wants to do is get out there and play basketball right now,” Brown said. “As an athlete, as a competitor, that’s one thing you want. Just me being out for two weeks, when I had a concussion for a little bit, I was itching. I just felt withdrawal from the basketball court so not being able to play, I’m sure he’s experiencing that as well. So I’m happy for him and it’s a blessing that you can see he’s back on his feet, he’s running, and he’s seeing it with his own two eyes. And just to hear that is really good news.”
Hayward also recently posted a video of him making a 3-pointer while lying down beyond the arc. Stevens was playfully asked if he could incorporate that into an after-timeout play.
“If he can figure out a way to defend on his back,” cracked Stevens.