Excerpts from an interview Friday with the Jazz's Gordon Hayward.
Hurting his ankle and how it happened: It actually was kind of weird. I was in Santa Barbara. I've been there three times this summer and it was my third time. I think I was doing a movement that was kind of new to me and I think I just overdid it a little bit. It kind of hurt my Achilles just a slight bit — it tightened up. The next day I sprained my ankle and I didn't even know it. You know when you sprain your ankle and you're like, 'Wow, I just sprained my ankle.' I didn't even really like know it. Then the next day, I was looking down and my ankle was all swollen and it was like, 'Whoa. I can't even do anything.' But the thing that has kept me out so far is I've had just a little bit of Achilles tendinitis. … It happened in Santa Barbara, but I've just kind of been cautious. I could go out there and play, but I'd rather just rest it and get fully better rather than risk doing something else. Because in the end, it's just a Pro Am game. Instead of playing, I've just been working double-time on ballhandling and spot shooting, and then of course I do other things everyday, too. … It's just kind of being cautious. St. Vincent knows exactly what they're doing and so I kind of just follow their instruction. … I don't think it's anything serious by any means. If I would've had this during the season I would've just played. I did play through a lot of stuff and I've always just played through everything. … I really haven't had any [major] injuries. I've been lucky for that.
His previous knowledge of Alec Burks' game: I didn't really get a chance to watch him because he played at Colorado and I didn't watch that much college basketball [last season] — all I watched was Butler. I really didn't know anything about him until he came and walked in the door. This is the first time I've seen anything from him.
First impression: He's very good at attacking the basket and going off the dribble and things like that. He seems like he's a pretty good passer, too, and it comes easy to him that way. A very good ballhandler. I haven't actually seen him play 5-on-5. … I can't really tell you the whole package. But from a workout standpoint he's done very well and I think he's got a lot of potential as he continues to work.
Upcoming schedule: I'm going to be in Indianapolis. I've worked out here since predraft and everything. It works out well for me because it's 20 minutes from my home. I get to work both basketball and lifting. It's something that I have a routine, it's a good schedule, there's great talent here. The Indy Pro Am is actually talking about doing another [round]. I can always go up to Butler and play there. It's a great — you know when people are coming from all over that it's a great place to work out, and it's just a benefit for me that I live here. … I'm blessed that they have all these huge facilities here and the fact that I live here is just another bonus. I can stop by and then my mom is making dinner for me, so it works out well.
Lockout questions from fans: It seems like anywhere you go people always say something about it. They want to know what's going on, what's happening. And I'm like, 'I want to ask you the same questions.' Everyone just kind of talks about it. But it's something that as players we're unified and we want this to end just as much as the fans. We want to play, but there's really nothing that we can do about it right now.
Jazz players working out together during lockout: I think it's kind of still too early. I haven't gotten any messages about it, so I don't know what's in the works or if anyone's doing anything. I know that Indianapolis has some great facilities so I want to put a word in for that. But we'll see how that works out.
Jeremy Evans: I talked to him a little bit. I think he's in different places, trying to find a good place to kind of maintain a workout. He's been up to Kentucky and he's been back in Arkansas a little bit. I told him he should come up and play in the Pro Am with us. I think it's just a matter of having the transportation and getting the logistics all worked out. But I know he's still working out.
Focus during offseason: Everything has got to get better. But for me, I'm really stressing this year on my ballhandling. I think I felt I was a little loose at times with the ball last year and it's something that I really want to pick up and improve. Of course, consistency with the jumpsuit. It was really good at the end of the season but it needs to be better at the beginning and throughout. And then just everything else in between — working on different moves and different stuff like that. I think I'll try to work on everything, but ballhandling is going to be a big key for me this year.
Brian T. Smith
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