In case you missed it, Gordon Hayward suffered one of the most grotesque in-game injuries in NBA history on Tuesday night.
Landing awkwardly on his way down from an ally-oop attempt, Hayward dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia which immediately shocked everyone watching.
As he lay in pain on the floor at the sight of his visible deformity, his teammates, opposing players, the crowd and the viewing audience looked on in anguish as one of Boston’s star players was severely injured.
Hayward’s agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan that the surgery would involve “a bunch of different things,” including inserting a plate and screws in order to stabilize his ankle and tibia.
In the team’s home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, the longest-tenured Celtic Marcus Smart was slated to deliver a message to the fans over the loudspeakers. But instead, he simply directed fans to the video screens above on the jumbotron. Here’s what played:
"What's up, everybody? I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers," Hayward said. "I'm going to be all right. It's 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. I'll be supporting you guys from here. I wish you the best of luck. Kill it tonight."
Before Wednesday’s game, Celtics coach Brad Stevens updated the media on his All-Star forward’s situation.
"I was [at the hospital] for a minute last night and also again today for an hour or so. He's down," Stevens said, via ESPN. "Obviously, there's a physical pain to it, 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.”
"But this is a setback; we're expecting a full recovery,” Stevens noted. “And we know there are going to be a lot of tough days ahead on that recovery but, at the same time, hopefully he'll improve day to day. But it's been tough. It's been tough for him."
The coach explained how his players have been affected by Hayward’s injury.
"I think the biggest thing is they really care about Gordon," Stevens said. "He's made a big impact on them. He's an easy guy to play with. He's a guy you want to play with on both ends of the floor. So certainly you miss that -- and that camaraderie. But one of the tasks that we have now is to pick up steam for him, and guys that get opportunities that [they] may not have [had before Hayward's injury] or guys that get opportunities from a more minutes standpoint need to be ready to take advantage of those."
Having dropped their season opener against the Cavs, the Celtics also lost their home opener to the Bucks on Wednesday to fall to an early 0-2 record. They will have to figure out how to compensate for the loss of their All-Star forward.