On the first day of the NBA season, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered one of the most gruesome in-game injuries in sports history.
Just two minutes into his Celtics career and fresh off signing a max deal, Hayward’s season ended without an official designation, as did the championship hopes in Boston. While the Celtics have impressively responded to put forth a solid campaign, it’s easy to assume that they’d be feared as one of the best teams in the league with their All-Star on the floor.
Throughout his recovery process, Hayward has been very transparent with Celtics fans, posting updates on social media and his personal website.
Recently, he was seen jogging, which was regarded as a huge milestone at this point in time given the severity of the initial injury.
In a recent update on his website, he credited his support system for keeping him inspired and on task along the journey of rehabilitation. Along with his family, friends and teammates, one person in particular has been helping him out.
“I have a great support system. A lot of people will reach out. Of course, fans on social media, family members and friends will call or text me. One person who’s been really great about keeping up with me is Paul George, and that’s meant a lot,” Hayward wrote.
Hayward and George have a lot in common. Both are talented wing players and have been All-Stars. Both also suffered disgusting and horrific mid-game injuries. George’s came first and he was quick to reach out to Hayward to offer his support. Over the course of the season, PG13 kept in touch with Hayward, too, proving that he didn’t initially offer his support for publicity reasons.
“He’s obviously got a lot going on with what he’s doing, just in his own season. So for him to still take the time to hit me up and check in on me to see how I’m doing, that’s been really cool. … His message is pretty simple, but it comes from an important place. He tells me to continue to work every day and not get frustrated by setbacks, because there are going to be setbacks,” Hayward explained.
Although Danny Ainge scared the entire Celtics community at one point by claiming that Hayward suffered a setback, he eventually walked those comments back. Although Hayward won’t return to the floor this season, he continues to make progress and could be ready by the start of next year in October.
George told Hayward to expect good days and bad days along the way. Overall, Hayward has been able to appreciate how George responded to his injury, which inspires him.
"There are going to be days where you feel really good, and there are going to be days where it is a lot more sore than normal," Hayward echoed. "There are days where you feel like you take two or three steps backward, but he’s told me not to get frustrated by that. In time, I’ll be 100 percent and healthy. … Just continue to work. That’s kind of been the general message. … The proof is in the results, that he has come back and been a star in the league, an All-Star every year since he got injured. He’s been through it and come back stronger, so it gives me a lot of inspiration to see a guy go through something like that and come back so strong.”
Although Hayward and George don’t wear the same jersey, it’s clear that they’re playing on the same team.
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