Gordon Hayward was the big prize in NBA free agency this year. He moved from contender to contender, signing a four year $128 million dollar deal with the Boston Celtics. Paired with newly acquired point guard Kyrie Irving, they were expected to threaten the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James in the Eastern Conference.
Now, less than one quarter into the season, its over.
In a gruesome scene, Hayward suffered a catastrophic injury to his left leg in tonight's season opener in Cleveland. After going up to try and get a lob pass from Irving, Hayward came down wrong on his foot and disaster ensued. His foot turns 90 degrees in the wrong direction. The play is in the video that follows.
WARNING!!!!!!! This is graphic footage. It is gross. You are warned!!!!!
He was stretchered off the court. Early details indicate that he has completely fractured his ankle. I am willing to bet that there is tons of ligament damage as well. He's done for the year. Some fear it may be longer. Reports also indicate that after the end of the first quarter James and former Celtic Isiah Thomas, who helped recruit Hayward to Boston before he was traded to Cleveland in the Kyrie deal went back to the locker room to check on him and offer support.
Hayward is coming off a career year. While playing with the Utah Jazz, he set highs in scoring and assists. At 27 years old, he is one of the brightest stars in the game. Now he faces nothing but uncertainty and a steep climb to get back.
For something like this to happen to anyone is terrible, but if you are a Boston fan you are panicking right now. This happened barely half a quarter into the season. To fill his spot, Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Taum will have to step up big time. The Celtics may also have difficulty going out and trading for a replacement if they choose to go that route. Their major trade assets went to the Cavs in the Irving deal.
For now, it is just a terrible situation for everyone, and I wish Gordon Hayward nothing but luck moving forward.