Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Celtics star Hayward suffers gruesome injury in opener

Published:Thursday | October 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Boston Celtics' Gordon Hayward grimaces in pain in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night in Cleveland. Hayward broke his left ankle on a play.

CLEVELAND (AP):

Just five minutes into his Boston career, new Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward gruesomely broke his left ankle, an injury that may end his season.

Hayward, who signed a four-year, $128 million free-agent contract this summer, went up for an alley-oop pass midway through the first quarter and collided with LeBron James. Hayward's leg twisted underneath him as he came back to the floor. The 27-year-old collapsed under the basket and looked in horror as his left foot was pointing outward.

He put his hands to his face and dropped back to the floor as a hush fell over the charged sell out crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena, which had come to boo Kyrie Irving on his return to Cleveland after being traded to Boston this summer.

Hayward's new teammates huddled in prayer at their bench as a distressed James covered his mouth and several Cleveland players nearby looked away. Hayward had his leg placed in an air cast, and James came over and consoled him before the he was pushed from the floor on a stretcher and taken for treatment.

 

ROARING OVATION

 

Cleveland's crowd gave Hayward a roaring ovation as he left. The Celtics later confirmed that Hayward's left ankle was broken. It's a devastating blow for the Celtics, who had overhauled their roster with the signing of Hayward and acquisition of Irving in hopes of closing the gap on the Cavs in the Eastern Conference.

Now, they will be without Hayward for an extended period as he will likely need surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation.

Boston were beaten 102-99 by James and the Cavaliers while in the night's second match in California, champions Golden State Warriors were clipped 122-121 by the Houston Rockets.