Boston Celtics stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, who both missed significant portions of last season with injuries, will be fully good to go when the team begins training camp next month.
"I don't want to hype it up too much, but I'm saying that if our training camp were starting today that they would be here today going full speed," Celtics president Danny Ainge told Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com. "It's not like they need an extra month. I think that they know they have an extra month, so they are sort of pacing themselves. They're playing as if to build up to that opening day of training camp [Sept. 26].
"They'll both be here within the next week or so; by the time Labor Day is over, they will all be playing 5-on-5. I think it's just a matter of, if they're not playing 5-on-5 now, then it's only because they want it more of a controlled environment, I guess. They're doing everything -- dunking the basketball off both legs and playing one-on-one live and jumping and cutting and defending. I'm excited for them."
Irving missed 22 regular-season games last season and was unavailable for the playoffs because of a knee injury. Hayward, on the other hand, fractured his tibia and dislocated his ankle just five minutes into the Celtics' season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 26-year-old Irving, who the Celtics acquired in a blockbuster trade ahead of the 2017-18 season, has been named an all-star in five of his seven campaigns in the NBA, including last season. Hayward, 26, has one all-star appearance under his belt. He signed a reported four-year $127 million-plus contract with the Celtics during the 2017 offseason.
Despite being without their two biggest stars, the Celtics still managed to come within just one game of reaching the NBA Finals. With LeBron James now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and out of the Eastern Conference, which he dominated for so many years, the Celtics are the favorites to represent the conference in next year's Finals.