There is room to wonder how big a factor Gordon Hayward could be if he somehow does manage to find his way back onto the court this season from his fractured tibia and dislocated ankle. But there is at least a ray of Green light in the fact no one is categorically ruling out a possible return.

The Celtics and all concerned are, however, taking a prudent approach.

“I’m not a doctor, and I wasn’t in the surgery, so I don’t really know,” Danny Ainge told the Herald when asked if he was leaving the door open. “And it’s still too early to tell. I mean, he just got out of surgery at midnight (Wednesday) night, and he was resting all day (yesterday) since he got no sleep (Wednesday). I honestly don’t know if anybody knows that.

“But I think it’s just safe to say that we’re not counting on him this year and go from there. Just take the pressure off him and let him heal correctly is the most important thing and not even really talk about when he should return to play. That’ll work itself out over time. Everybody heals differently.”

The Celtics already had an available roster spot, and they could apply to the league for a disabled player exception that would create a slot of more than $8 million to add another player. But it’s likely the club will let this play out a bit before deciding on a course of action.

“We’re looking,” said Ainge. “We’re looking for ways to improve our team, but we’re not in a major rush to do that.”

What is certain is that Hayward’s horrific injury, coming 5:15 into a regular season that is scheduled to contain 3,936 minutes even before overtimes, has dealt a severe blow to expectations for the 2017-18 Celtics. It had changed what is realistic for this club.