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Celtics forward Hayward expected to be fully cleared by August

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is expected to be back at full strength this off-season.

The 28-year-old signed a four-year, $128million contract with the Celtics in July, but he suffered a gruesome leg injury in Boston’s 2017-18 opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers and missed the rest of the season.

Hayward underwent successful surgery to remove a plate and screws from his injured leg late last month.

Boston coach Brad Stevens told The Boston Globe that Hayward is close to completing his comeback.

“Everything is good and pointed toward being back exactly where he was – hopefully pain-free, because that plate is taken out – in the middle of July, which probably points to an early-August, mid-August fully cleared timeframe,” Stevens said.

Hayward spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Utah Jazz. He averaged 21.9 points and was named an All-Star in 2016-17.

The Celtics finished 2017-18 with a 55-27 record. They advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, where they fell to the Cavaliers in seven games.