BOSTON (CBS) –Like just about everyone else across the country, Gordon Hayward is trying to fill his time at home. With the Celtics and NBA season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the silver lining of it all is that it has given Hayward an opportunity to spend a lot of extra time with his family that he wouldn’t normally be afforded during the season.
While he isn’t really doing anything different during this bonus family time, Hayward said he and his girls are doing “more of everything” on his Friday conference call with Boston reporters.
“When its nice out you get them outside and go for walks with the dogs. We’re trying to teach them how to ride their bikes without training wheels,” he said. “It’s not going too great but were going to keep trying.”
That “more of everything” also included a pretty big beard for Hayward, who — like men everywhere — haven’t been able to hit their barbershop for over a month. Recently, that beard became too much for his girls.
“The beard had been getting scraggly and Robyn (his wife) was getting upset. There was already enough tension being at home all day so I shaved to relieve some of that,” he joked.
It was a tense few weeks in the Hayward household when the league put the season on pause back on March 11. The Celtics were in Milwaukee when the 2020 season came to an abrupt halt, and players were concerned because they had just played against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the first player in the NBA to test positive for coronavirus. Shortly after arriving back in Boston, they learned that C’s guard Marcus Smart had also tested positive.
With a young family and his wife expecting, this added to the tension for Hayward and his family.
“Everyone was a little bit scared at that point, just because of the uncertainty. Because we were with somebody who tested positive and my wife being pregnant, we were definitely nervous about the thing,” said Hayward. “We were being precautious with everything. I didn’t go anywhere. Our doctor said not as many hugs or snuggles until we could figure out if I was positive or negative, so that’s what we did until we got back the results.
“Because of our situation it was a little nerve-racking, but a relief to be negative,” he continued. “We were all fine as log as we stayed in our bubble here and took care of everything we had to take care of to stay safe.”
Hayward said one of the added benefits of not playing right now is players have had an opportunity to heal up a bit. The C’s forward had been nursing some leg issues before the hiatus, and the rest has helped. However, with no basketball, there’s the added challenge of staying in shape without the ability to run up and down a court.
And then there’s the mental aspect of being locked in and getting geared up for the playoffs, only to have it all come to a screeching halt.
“The mental and emotional part is going to be something we all have to work through when you get back. You get into this mode and mindset in the season, and to not have that for however long this is going to be, it’s going to be an adjustment to get back into that, especially if we get back and it’s right into the playoffs,” he said. “You have to get really locked in and focused. It’s something the staff and coaches have talked to us a little bit. We’ve done Zoom calls to stay connected, and that will help us out when we get back.”
No one has any idea when the NBA will return to action — if at all — and what the league will look like if it does. There’s been talk of having every team play in one location, and potential changes to the postseason format. Whatever the league decides, it will be a new world for everyone.
“Whatever scenario they come up with, it’ll be something none of us have dealt with before, whether that’s everyone in Vegas or another location, or playing with no fans. Playing with no fans would be pretty wild, like a scrimmage in training camp,” he said. “You have to bring your own energy and home court advantage has pretty much gone out the window at that time.”
Hayward believes it will take a few weeks for every team to get ready for whichever NBA landscape they return to.
“It’s already been a little over four weeks, and guys really haven’t been able to get on a court or hoop or anything. From a safety standpoint — I’m not qualified to answer that — but I’m guessing 2-3 weeks of training and being able to run full court, jump and play basketball before you see anybody put themselves at risk to get injured.
“You can’t rush the season back or play too many games in a short period of time. That’s something that needs to be taken into consideration,” he said.