Boston Celtics: Stevens halts any excitement of a Gordon Hayward 2017 return

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Gordon Hayward has ditched his ankle brace, so does that mean the Boston Celtics star will make his way back to the team towards the end of the 2017 NBA season? 

With the Boston Celtics set to take on the Philadelphia 76ers in London, Gordon Hayward is stirring up some news back here in the United States.

Well, maybe it is not exactly Hayward doing all the teasing.

On Tuesday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge tweeted out a photo of Hayward without his ankle brace.  The Celtics star then retweeted the photo with the infamous eyes emoji.

Now, of course fans are going to get excited and start thinking about a return to the court sooner rather than later.  Just look how happy and healed he looks:

But, is a return this season really realistic?

Related Story: 3 reasons Gordon Hayward should not rush his return

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens kept the excitement and speculation at bay in his conference call from London.

"“I would say that there’s really nothing more to read into,” Stevens said, via CBS Boston.  “Nothing’s changed with his timeline, this isn’t like a huge ordeal.”"

Overall, Hayward’s progress is something Celtics fans should be upbeat about.  How can anyone forget the gruesome injury that took place just five minutes into the 2017 season at Quicken Loans Arena.

More from Chowder and Champions

The news is encouraging…but

The sight of Gordon Hayward sitting on the floor with his foot pointing the wrong way was not only horrific, but put a huge damper on the Boston Celtics season.

Back then, the fear wasn’t when he would return, but if he would return.

So, to see Hayward doing the things necessary to get back on the court is fantastic to see.  However, the expectations should stop there…as far as this season goes.  Not only is the team 33-10 and basically cruising, young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are earning valuable playing time.

Yes, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are prime for the taking.  It is easy to believe Hayward’s return could push them into the NBA Finals.

But, then what?

Next: The 5 faces of the Boston Celtics: The coach, the stars and the future

Even with Hayward, this year’s Boston Celtics team don’t have enough to overtake the powerful Golden State Warriors.  Don’t get me wrong, they can compete, but are still a full season of Gordon Hayward away from making some real noise in their quest for title No. 18.