Gordon Hayward Suffers Horrific Leg Injury in NBA Season Opener

Posted on: October 18, 2017, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2017, 10:37h.

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome injury less than six minutes into his first game of the season, likely ending his first campaign with the team before it even started.

Gordon Hayward injury
Teammates watch stunned as Gordon Hayward is taken off the court on a stretcher following a leg injury in their season opener. (Image: NBA.com)

The injury happened with 6:45 remaining in the first quarter of the game, with the Celtics visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hayward attempted to receive a pass for an alley-oop, but collided with LeBron James and awkwardly bent his left leg as he collapsed underneath the basket.

Players, fans, and commentators all immediately knew the situation was serious, as Hayward’s left ankle was turned at an unnatural angle after the fall. The frightening-looking injury was enough to shock players on both teams, who kept their distance until Hayward was taken off the court via a stretcher.

The Cavaliers would ultimately go on to win the game 102-99. But after the game, all anyone could talk about was the injury that might define Boston’s season.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Gordon’s family,” LeBron James told the Associated Press. “Those are the injuries you never see coming, you never want to happen, no matter who it is, no matter what the stature, no matter how much competitive nature that you have.”

Hayward Likely to Miss Entire Season

The Celtics announced the injury as a fractured left ankle, though Boston coach Brad Stevens would later say after the game that Hayward had dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia.

Agent Mark Barelstein told ESPN that Hayward would undergo MRI and CT scans on Wednesday morning, after which a surgical course of action would be determined.

Given the nature of the injury, however, it appears likely that Hayward will miss the entire season. That would be a stunning blow to Boston’s chances of contending for an NBA title this year, as Hayward was a major part of their effort to bolster their roster and become a threat to rival the Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.

Injury Bumps Boston from NBA’s Top Tier

While the Warriors are the odds-on favorite to win another NBA title, and the Cavaliers remain the clear second choice, Boston had slotted themselves ahead of other fringe contenders.

Many bookmakers offered bets on the Celtics to win the NBA championship at 10-1 odds, with several Las Vegas sportsbooks reporting that more bets had been placed on Boston than any other team in the league.

That vote of confidence appears to have disappeared overnight. At Betfair, gamblers were now taking futures bets on the Celtics winning this year’s title at 28-1. While that still makes them second choice in the Eastern Conference, it puts them far behind strong Western Conference squads like the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs in the title race.

The Celtics signed Hayward to a four-year, $128 million contract in July, a move designed to help them compete with the Cleveland and Golden State “super teams” who have dominated basketball in recent years. Last season, Hayward averaged 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game with the Utah Jazz, leading them to the second round of the playoffs and earning his first All-Star Game appearance.