Gordon Hayward went into surgery on Wednesday night in Boston on his fractured tibia and dislocated ankle that he suffered in the Celtics’ opener in Cleveland on Tuesday night. The injury was one of the most gruesome looking basketball injuries we’ve seen in recent memory, and one that unfortunately is seared into the minds of everyone in the arena or watching the television broadcast at the time.
The immediate reaction was to hope Hayward would be alright in the long term, because of how nasty the injury looked. There was also the secondary issue of how the Celtics would proceed this season without their big free agent signing, and how long they would be without him. So far without Hayward, Boston has lost its first two games by narrow margins, leaving the team and fans searching for answers.
On Thursday morning, after the completion of Hayward’s surgery, his agent Mark Bartlestein gave ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski updates to both of those concerns. Bartlestein told Wojnarowski the surgery was a success, but that the star forward was unlikely to be back on the court this season.
Celtics All-Star forward Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return during the 2017-18 season, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Hayward underwent surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and a fractured tibia in Boston on Wednesday night, a procedure that Bartelstein labeled a success.
“We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form,” Bartelstein said.
Hayward has received an outpouring of support from around the NBA in the wake of his injury, with current and former players reaching out to offer their best wishes as he heads into a long road to recovery. While the physical recovery will obviously be difficult, as coach Brad Stevens noted prior to Wednesday’s game against the Bucks, the toughest thing for Hayward will be finding ways to stay positive and keep himself mentally strong through the process.
“I was [at the hospital] for a minute last night and also again today for an hour or so. He’s down,” Stevens said. “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.”
While Hayward fights to get back, the Celtics will have some opportunities to try and fill his roster spot. ESPN’s Bobby Marks reports they’ll likely receive an $8.4 million injured player exception to try and bring in a replacement, but it’s hard to imagine them finding a player that can truly give them enough to salvage this season in terms of being one of the East’s top contenders to take down Cleveland given all the depth they gave up this offseason to bring in stars like Hayward and Kyrie Irving.