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Gordon Hayward signed a four-year contract worth 8 million with the Boston Celtics in July 2017 after spending the first seven years of his career with the Utah Jazz. Here's a timeline of his first season, beginning with the opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Updated through a March 2 video of his workout.)
1 Oct. 17: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving shaken by Gordon Hayward injuryBy Sacha Pisani
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving said Tuesday that Gordon Hayward's sickening leg injury in his debut for the Celtics is among the worst they have ever seen.
Hayward, 27, dislocated his left ankle and fractured his left tibia early in Boston's season-opening 102-99 loss to the Cavs. The All-Star was making his bow for the Celtics after arriving from the Jazz amid much optimism but it ended it agony after he came down on his ankle as he jumped in an effort to catch a pass during the first quarter.
Celtics and Cavs players turned away in horror as Hayward grimaced in pain at Quicken Loans Arena, and fellow Celtics debutant Irving – facing his former team – was immediately reminded of Paul George's gruesome leg injury for Team USA in 2014.
"It's tough. I've seen a few injuries in my career and I've had a few," said Irving, who posted 22 points and 10 assists in Cleveland. "Probably two of the worst ones I've been in the game watching - one was [Paul George] at USA and this one tonight. It's not a great sight to see but you gotta pick yourself up. Just keep on fighting, man.
"We understand that [Hayward], God-willing, will be fine, and we're going to continue to pray for him and be there for him as best we can."
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said: "He's put in a lot of great work. And I thought he had his most comfortable week as far as feeling like he was going to play really well. But now we'll hopefully get a full recovery, right? And so it's a tough deal, but I guess that's part of it: the risk of injury. I really feel for him."
Added James: "I've seen a couple of injuries like that in my lifetime. I've seen Paul George when it happened to Paul. I was watching the game with Shaun Livingston when it happened when he was with the Los Angeles Clippers. I was watching NCAA basketball when Kevin Ware was at Louisville.
"Those are the injuries that you never seen coming and you never want to happen, no matter who it is, no matter what the stature, no matter how much competitive nature that you have. It's just very unfortunate."
2 Oct. 17: NBA players offer support for Hayward after horrific injury
By Skylar Rolstad
Even as TNT cameras caught the devastating sight of Gordon Hayward sitting on the court with a gruesome ankle injury, Twitter was already reacting in shock. Thunder guard Paul George, who , tweeted his support for Hayward as soon as Hayward went to the ground to the shock of everyone at Quicken Loans Arena.
Here was reaction from the Cavs bench.
Many other fellow NBA players tweeted their hopes and prayers for Hayward to be OK.
3 Oct. 18: Las Vegas oddsmakers respond to injury to Celtics’ Hayward
By Marcus DiNitto
The Celtics’ chances of winning the 2017-18 NBA championship were cut in half by the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward, according to updated odds in Las Vegas.
The Westgate SuperBook listed the Celtics at 10-to-1 odds to win the title on Monday, the day before the season started, but that number skyrocketed to 20/1 when the bookmakers released new odds Wednesday, the day after Hayward broke his leg and dislocated his ankle in Boston’s loss at Cleveland.
While the Cavaliers’ championship odds remain unchanged at 4/1, the Wizards’ price was shortened from 40/1 to 30/1, and the Raptors from 80/1 to 60/1.
In the Eastern Conference futures pool, the Celtics’ odds were raised from 9/4 to 6/1 after Hayward’s injury, while Cleveland went from 1/2 to 1/3, Washington from 15/1 to 8/1, and Toronto from 20/1 to 16/1.
Hayward’s absence also put a serious dent in his teammate Kyrie Irving’s chances to win this season’s MVP award, the point guard’s odds jumping from 4/1 to 12/1.
Conversely, Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum, who figures to get significantly more minutes in Hayward’s absence, saw his rookie of the year odds tightened from 12/1 to 11/2.
4 Oct. 18: Hayward delivers message to Celtics fans from hospital bedBy Thomas Lott
Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome leg injury in the Celtics' opener Tuesday night, but that did not keep him from firing up the fans at TD Garden in Boston Wednesday.
The 27-year-old delivered a message to Celtics fans prior to Boston's home opener. He spoke from his hospital bed where he is reportedly waiting to undergo surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and fractured left tibia.
"I'm going to be alright," Hayward said. "It hurt me that I can't be there at the home opener, I want nothing more than to be with my teammates and walk out on that floor tonight, but I'll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck, go kill it tonight."
Hayward was injured in the first quarter of the Celtics' 102-99 loss to the Cavaliers Tuesday when he went up for an alley-oop pass and came down awkwardly on his leg after colliding with LeBron James.
There has been no report on what the timetable for Hayward's recovery is, but reported after Hayward undergoes surgery the Celtics will have a better idea of what his future looks like.
5 Oct. 27: This is how Kevin Durant reacted when he saw Gordon Hayward's injury liveBy Jordan Greer
Gordon Hayward's brutal injury in the Celtics' opener against the Cavs cast a dark cloud over the start of the 2017-18 NBA season. Players fiercely compete against each other for the right to hold the Larry O'Brien championship trophy, but in this moment, the NBA community came together to support Hayward.
Warriors star Kevin Durant was watching opening night live when Hayward went down with a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia after colliding with LeBron James on an alley-oop attempt. Durant reacted with stunned silence upon seeing the severity of the injury. (Fast forward to the 20-second mark in the video below.)
As part of his video blog, Durant echoed the sentiments of many other players with a message of strength, telling Hayward he will be back to his old self once he's fully healthy.
"We know Gordon's gonna bounce back and still be Gordon Hayward when he gets back from injury," Durant said. "But it just sucks to see, man. So we're all praying for him. We all got his back. This is a fraternity. When stuff like that happens, we gotta try and rally around each other."
Hayward signed a four-year, 7 million contract with the Celtics this offseason. Hayward underwent surgery last week, and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, it's unlikely he returns this season.
The former Butler star told Celtics fans "I'm going to be all right" as part of a .
"It hurt me that I can't be there at the home opener," Hayward said. "I want nothing more than to be with my teammates and walk out on that floor tonight, but I'll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck, go kill it tonight."
Let's hope Durant is right and Hayward can return to form sooner rather than later.
6 Nov. 1: Hayward on gruesome leg injury: 'Immediately I knew something was off'By E.Jay Zarett
Just over a week after he suffered a gruesome leg injury, Gordon Hayward discussed the injury at length in a blog post.
“Immediately, I knew something was off, but when I landed, it wasn’t a huge amount of pain,” Hayward said in the post . “I rolled over and saw my foot, and it was pointed in completely the wrong direction. My first thought was, ‘Oh. This isn’t good. There’s something very wrong here.’
“Then all of a sudden, it came. It was like once my brain figured out what had happened, I was hit with shots of pain.”
Hayward was first taken by stretcher to Quicken Loans Arena’s training room. He said the first person to speak with him was former Celtics point guard and current Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas, who helped recruit him to Boston.
“I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I know he said a prayer for me, like right next to me,” Hayward said. “He was just there for me. I’ve learned in a short time what a special guy Isaiah is.”
Hayward returned to Boston and had surgery, which he said was successful. After surgery, Hayward was contacted by two NFL stars who have had their 2017 seasons cut short because of injuries: Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
Hayward said he also received an email from former president Barack Obama as well as Kobe Bryant and exchanged texts with Thunder forward Paul George, who suffered a devastating leg injury playing for Team USA in 2014.
“I’m especially grateful for everyone in the NBA family that has reached out, and reinforced just how special it is to be part of such a special fraternity,” Hayward said.
Hayward said he has watched Boston’s games, which he said was difficult at first. Hayward also said he will do everything he can to help the Celtics this season, but his mind is on his return.
“I keep imagining what it’s going to be like to step onto the floor at the Garden, and make my regular season debut as a Celtic,” Hayward said. “It’s going to be a little delayed. But with each day of my rehab, I’ll be that much closer to making it happen. I’m already dreaming about sharing that moment with everyone here in Boston.”
7 Nov. 2: Hayward has 'zero expectations' about timetable for Celtics returnBy Marc Lancaster
Gordon Hayward isn't even hinting at when he might return to the court for the Boston Celtics, but he also isn't letting the horrific leg injury he suffered in the season opener keep him off the court.
Addressing the media Thursday for the first time since he suffered a dislocated ankle and broken tibia minutes into his Celtics debut on Oct. 17, Hayward said he is "putting zero expectations" on a timetable for his return. He also noted that he planned to follow up his press conference by doing a bit of shooting from a chair, the newest wrinkle in what will be a lengthy rehab process for the 27-year-old forward.
"To be out on the court and have a basketball … that was an incredible feeling to start that process," Hayward told reporters, adding: “Shooting out of a chair is a little different than shooting standing up. I feel a little short."
At least it's something basketball-related, though. Hayward said the initial days of being confined to bed with his foot elevated were difficult to take, and he continues to process his emotions over the injury.
"Daily I still have negative thoughts," he acknowledged. "It's hard not to."
Yes, by the way, Hayward said he has seen the video of his injury, noting that the clip was difficult to avoid given the proliferation of social media. But his focus now is firmly on moving ahead.
Hayward said he immediately heard from Paul George, who suffered a similar injury in August 2014, and expects to remain in touch with the Thunder star regularly as his rehab continues.
That communication with George and simply being around his new teammates in Boston figure to provide a boost for Hayward. He said just being able to hang around the team in recent days has been a boost to his mental health, and he's eager for doctors to clear him to sit on the bench during games sometime soon.
8 Dec. 10: Hayward says returning this season is 'in the back of my mind'By Jordan Greer
It has been nearly two months since Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific ankle injury in the Celtics' season opener against the Cavs. Slowly but surely, Hayward is making his way back to the court — and he might even be ahead of schedule.
In a recent interview with The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach, Hayward confessed he has thought about playing again this season. The All-Star forward was initially ruled out for the entire 2017-18 campaign after he was diagnosed with a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia.
"It’s definitely in the back of my mind," Hayward said. "I’m definitely pushing to get back as fast as I can, while making sure that I still have a lot of good years of basketball in me. And coming back early and hurting something else is not part of that plan. So I’m making sure that if I come back, I’m 1,000 percent confident in myself and my leg.
"I hope more than anything I can play this season. That would be awesome. But that’s not something I’m stressing about. I’m stressing about what I can do today to help myself get better."
Boston lost in Cleveland and at home against Milwaukee to start the season, but Brad Stevens' squad bounced back with a 16-game winning streak. The Celtics currently own the best record in the Eastern Conference at 22-5, leaving many fans, analysts and Hayward himself wondering what this team could have looked like with every piece of the puzzle put together.
Hayward is now moving with a small brace and no longer needs assistance from crutches. The Celtics are wisely being extra cautious when it comes to the recovery schedule, and Hayward refuses to look too far ahead. Still, it's hard not to imagine how an already formidable starting lineup would change with the addition of Boston's big free-agent acquisition.
"I feel like for me it’s better to just tell myself, 'Let’s be better today than I was yesterday,' and then keep doing that day in and day out," Hayward said. "And if it happens to get to the point where the season’s still going on and I can play, then, like, that’s awesome."
9 Dec. 13: Hayward spotted without walking bootBy Sara Jane Harris
Gordon Hayward was allowed to remove his walking boot on Wednesday, two months after suffering a gruesome ankle injury in the first quarter of the Celtics' season-opener against the Cavaliers on Oct. 17.
ESPN's Chris Forsberg tweeted that Hayward may need to wear the boot again, depending on how his foot reacts.
10 Dec. 19: Hayward says mental depression worse than physical pain caused by injuryBy Alec Brzezinski
Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury just five minutes into the season. While the physical pain had to be immense, Hayward said something else has hurt even worse.
“Definitely the depression," Hayward said Wednesday on the Dan Patrick Show, via nbcsports.com. "It’s been painful, but it’s nothing like sitting around watching the team you were supposed to be playing with this year. I signed to play for the Boston Celtics this year now to only sit and watch the Boston Celtics this year. That part has been difficult and much more difficult to deal with than the pain.”
Hayward signed a four-year 8 million contract this offseason to be reunited with his former Butler coach Brad Stevens. The first year of said contract will likely be spent on the bench, but Hayward is still holding out hope for a late return this season.
“I work out every day to try to increase my range of motion and increase my strength in my legs so that I can be back as fast as I can," he said. "Whether that’s this year or this summer or next year, I will just let that happen. But for sure, as a competitor, I’m just trying to come back faster than anyone has ever done it.”
The Celtics (26-7) lead the Eastern Conference by 2 1/2 games over the Cavaliers despite suffering through a number of key injuries.
Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris (still injured) have all missed time this season. While Hayward's return this season remains a long shot, he's clearly doing everything he can to get back onto the court.
11 Dec. 21: Hayward: 'The theme for me right now is, Be better today than I was yesterday'
By Kirstie Chiappelli
Gordon Hayward has a new sense of freedom. The Celtics forward on Thursday tweeted the latest update in his recovery after suffering a gruesome ankle injury just five minutes into the season, saying he is out of the boot on his foot and progressing with his rehabilitation.
"The theme for me right now is, 'Be better today than I was yesterday.'" Hayward wrote. "And it has been a gradual process. I started with the cast. Then after I got the cast off, I was put into a boot so that we could start manual therapy. At first, I was wearing the boot all the time and stuck on crutches. At one point, they had me take off the boot before I went to sleep, or when I was just laying around.
"Now I’m off the crutches completely, and I’m totally out of the boot, too. Instead, I’m in a brace, which I’ll probably be wearing for the foreseeable future while I’m doing rehab and all that stuff. It’s all about making slow progress. Baby steps."
Hayward detailed his schedule and success thus far in a post on his official website while also praising his team's ability to push forward in his absence. Still, Hayward would give anything to be back on the court with his teammates.
"The toughest part of the whole thing is honestly watching our games and other games around the NBA, and not really being able to be a part of it," he wrote. "The mental side of it is 100% the most difficult. I trained all summer and made a decision to come play for the Boston Celtics, only to have to sit on the sideline and watch the Boston Celtics play. That is definitely the toughest part."
Despite his disappointment in having to likely miss his entire first season in Boston with the injury, Hayward is staying positive and taking advantage of his free time by spending it with his wife and young daughters.
"Things back on the homefront have been really good. In a lot of ways, it feels like just an extension of the summer. It’s kind of funny that way," he wrote. "Those are things that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to do if I was on the road all the time. . . . I’m looking forward to spending more of this holiday season with them."
12 Jan. 9: 'Coach' Gordon Hayward shown without ankle brace during fun swim competitionBy Gabrielle McMillen
Danny Ainge seems to be pleased with how Gordon Hayward's recovery is progressing.
The Celtics general manager snapped a photo of Hayward without his brace at the pool Tuesday after a friendly swimming competition.
While Hayward wasn't a participant, he "coached" skills trainer Jason Smeathers, who faced off against Celtics rehabilitation manager Stephen Mount.
It's exciting news for Celtics fans, since it's the first photo of Hayward standing (and likely walking) on his hurt ankle. He was seen without his walking boot roughly a month ago, but no protection on his ankle (or shoe on his foot for that matter) seems to indicate Hayward's recovery is going well.
Does this mean Hayward could return this season? The Celtics have said it's highly unlikely, but this photo does lead us to believe his recovery is going swimmingly.
13 Jan. 22: Video shows Celtics forward draining shots in empty gym
By Travis Durkee
First it was GM Danny Ainge sharing a picture of Gordon Hayward that sent Celtics fans into a tizzy. Now it’s Hayward’s wife captivating Boston with her latest Instagram post.
Robyn Hayward posted a short video to Instagram late Sunday of Hayward inside an empty gym knocking down 3-pointers from the top of the key.
If you were a Patriots fan celebrating yet another Super Bowl trip and happened to miss the update, here it is:
Hayward, who signed a four-year contract worth 8 million this offseason with Boston, suffered gruesome ankle injury just five minutes into the season. He has said he’s open to returning this season if he is deemed healthy enough, but the Celtics have done just fine without him as they’re atop the Eastern Conference with a 34-13 record as of Jan. 22.
14 Feb. 12: Celtics forward 'not coming back' this season, Brad Stevens says
By Travis Durkee
After a beatdown to a rebuilt Cavaliers team Sunday, the Celtics are reeling a bit, but not panicking.
Monday morning on The Dan Patrick Show, Celtics coach Brad Stevens the team won’t rush back Gordon Hayward for the playoffs.
“My mindset is he’s not coming back. That’s the way we’ve approached it. Gordon and I have never had a conversation about him coming back,” Stevens said.
Hayward he plans to start traveling with the team in March.
Hayward, who signed a four-year contract worth 8 million this offseason with Boston, suffered a gruesome ankle injury just five minutes into the season. He has said he’s open to returning this season if he is deemed healthy enough, but the Celtics have done just fine without him as they’re second in the Eastern Conference with a 40-18 record — just a half-game behind the Raptors.
15 March 2: Hayward posts intense workout video dribbling and shooting
By Carlan Gay
The Celtics and their fans have held out hope that Gordon Hayward will indeed comeback this season.
On Friday, one of the most encouraging updated was released by the Players Tribune.
The 27-year-old is seen going through an intense amount of shooting drills, looking to get back into playing shape.
"We haven't pushed it that hard in a while," the trainer shouts at the Celtic star in the video. "Just ramping up again. You got a lot of ball handling, a lot of shooting. We just gotta keep building it up."
In December Hayward was optimistic that he could make a return to the lineup. Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said March would be "big-time" for the rehab as he'll run on an AlterG treadmill.
The Celtics are 0.5 games behind the Toronto Raptors for first place in the Eastern Conference with 19 games remaining in the season.
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