Boston Celtics

Celtics' GM Danny Ainge 'really excited' for Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward's return

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Bad news for the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics will be ready and at full health come opening night.

After closing the season without both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics are expecting to welcome them back to the lineup healthy.

"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' general manager and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told ESPN's Chris Forsberg.

"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 [on Sept. 26]."

Both Irving and Hayward have spent the off-season rehabbing injuries that saw them watch from the sidelines as their team lost a close Game 7 at home in the Eastern Conference Finals to LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Having brought back the same roster as a season ago and essentially adding their two all-stars back into the mix has put Boston at the top of the conference pecking order on paper.

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Celtics' players have already expressed their excitement of the potential roster, but as excited as Ainge is he knows it will take time to get Irving and Hayward up to speed before their opening night game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 16 in Boston.

"I'm really excited about the upcoming season with [Irving and Hayward]," Ainge continued. "Obviously, there's a transition from rehabbing to playing one-on-one to playing 3-on-3 to 5-on-5 and then playing NBA basketball, so I don't want to build up expectations too high. I think there will be a little bit of an adjustment once that last phase is made.

"But physically, they look great, and I think they're very excited about the upcoming year."

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