BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics are in the middle of their toughest stretch of the season, playing their seventh of 16 games in the month of December on Wednesday night.

Boston raced by the Denver Nuggets with a 124-118 win without Al Horford on Wednesday, thanks to 33 points by Kyrie Irving and a big stretch from Shane Larkin off of the bench. The C’s bench has been a bit thin as of late with Marcus Morris missing time with a knee injury, but Celtics president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday that Morris should be able to hit the floor soon.

Ainge said the team and Morris are still working on a timetable, but he believes the forward will play as he deals with the nagging injury.

“Marcus is going to be playing periodically. I don’t think he’s shut down for a long period of time,” said Ainge. “We’re in the process of developing a day-by-day plan over the next month or so, but I do anticipate him playing through this process.”

Wednesday was also a big day for Gordon Hayward, who received the OK from doctors to shed his walking boot. He still has a long way to go in his recovery and is now wearing a brace, and Ainge added that Hayward’s ankle is still at least a couple of weeks away from being completely weight bearing.

Ainge said that Hayward is doing 4-5 hours of rehab every day, doing full body strength training while also working the muscles around the injured area. While the Celtics aren’t putting a timetable on a return, Hayward has strongly hinted that he would like to return this season. Ainge says that is just part of the player’s competitive nature.

“He wants to get back quickly and faster than anyone has. We’re not trying to put any pressure on him,” stressed Ainge. “His long-term future is our No. 1 goal. He’s a hardworking guy and works diligently.”

Ainge also touched on using the disabled player exception they received after Hayward went down on opening night, the recent play of the Boston bench and the Ball family heading to Lithuania. Listen to the full podcast above!

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