Given the graphic and shocking visual of the injury, it’s not actually so absurd to refer to the aftermath of Gordon Hayward’s injury as the “best-case scenario,” as Hayward’s agent called it. But that’s the truth: It could have been much worse. Instead, it’s a broken tibia and a dislocated ankle, serious to be sure, but it’s a “clean break.” It will heal.
It won’t heal fast enough for Hayward to be back this season. He underwent surgery on Wednesday, which agent Mark Bartelstein called a success but said Hayward is unlikely to return during the 2017-18 season. “We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form,” Bartelstein said.
The 27-year-old forward signed a four-year, $128 million contract with Boston during the offseason, and the new-look Celtics were expected to challenge the Cavs for the East. But Hayward destroyed his ankle just five-plus minutes into his debut, and Boston has now lost its first two after dropping its home opener 108-100 to the Bucks last night.
Before the game, the crowd was welcomed by Marcus Smart, the longest-tenured Celtic, who then kicked it to a very special video message from Hayward, recorded from his hospital bed before his surgery.
“What’s up, everybody? 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.”
“Having known him as long as I’ve known him,” said Brad Stevens, “it’s tough to see him go through this. We’ll make sure he knows that we’ve got our arms around him.”