Just six minutes into the opening game of the NBA season between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome leg injury that halted action on the court. After the game, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said the forward had a dislocated ankle and broken tibia.
After Hayward, in his first game as a member of the Celtics, jumped up for an alley-oop finish to a Kyrie Irving pass, he landed awkwardly on his left leg. In a similar fashion to Paul George’s leg injury in 2014 during the lead-up to the FIBA World Cup, the injury left players in shock.
Hayward was put on a stretcher and an air cast was placed around his left leg. He was taken to the locker room for treatment. LeBron James, who spoke to Hayward briefly as he was put on the stretcher, was also spotted in the locker room around the same time.
This is the only injury photo you need. We were all feeling like this for Gordon Hayward. pic.twitter.com/CfwhfCmKBm— J Guti (@andthefoul) October 18, 2017
Alongside Irving, Hayward was one of the Celtics’ primary offseason acquisitions. The Celtics signed him during free agency on July 4. In his seven seasons in the league, Hayward had never suffered a major injury before this one.
George, who fully recovered from his own leg injury, was among the many to offer Hayward immediate support.
God bless you bro @gordonhayward ! help him thru this god!— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) October 18, 2017
This piece was updated after publication with additional information.