- Celtics forward Gordon Hayward went down with a brutal ankle injury just minutes into his debut.
- After successful surgery, Hayward is expected to make a full recovery, but will likely miss the entirety of the 2017-18 season.
Hayward greeted fans at Boston’s home opener on Wednesday with a video message played before the game.
Just minutes into his debut with the Boston Celtics in the opening game of the 2017-18 NBA season, Gordon Hayward went down with a brutal injury. Later revealed as a broken tibia and a dislocated ankle, Hayward was in visible agony in the aftermath of the play, and the Cavaliers bench reacted with horror at the sight.
Hayward underwent surgery on Wednesday, which his agent Mark Bartelstein called a success. “We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form,” Bartelstein said.
But even with the surgery a success, Bartelstein told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Hayward is unlikely to play again this season.
Still, Hayward did make an appearance at the Celtics home opener on Wednesday night, in the form of a video message that was played before tip-off.
“What’s up, everybody?” Hayward said, greeted with cheers from the Boston crowd. “I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be all right. Hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight, but I’ll be supporting you guys from here and I wish you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks guys.”
You can watch a clip of Hayward’s message to the crowd below.
Head coach Brad Stevens, who also coached Hayward in college at Butler, said he visited the forward at the hospital the night before the game and described his mood as “down.”
“Obviously, there’s a physical pain to it,” Stevens said. “But I think it’s also doubled by the emotional pain of, you know, he put a lot of effort into trying to start this, his career, out well in Boston.”
Stevens added that the team would continue to actively support Hayward throughout his recovery. “We’ll make sure he knows that we’ve got our arms around him.”
The Celtics went on to lose their home opener to the Milwaukee Bucks 108-100. They will have their next shot at their first win of the season on Friday when they head to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers.
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