Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward confirmed that he expects to miss the remainder of the 2017-18 season while recovering from surgery to fix the fractured ankle he suffered in a gruesome opening-night injury in Cleveland.
Hayward, posting an entry entitled, “In an Instant” to his personal blog and Facebook page on Wednesday night, chronicled the past two weeks and gushed about the support he’s received.
Hayward acknowledged that his surgery included both repairing the bone he fractured in his ankle and repairing torn ligaments. While some have wondered if he might be able to return this season, Hayward wrote that he does not expect to be back.
“The Celtics organization has been just over the top in every aspect. They know I will not be back on the court at all this season, but they have been making sure I have every resource I need, and are making me feel like I am a part of the team,” wrote Hayward.
Hayward taped an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer earlier this week that will air on Thursday’s “Today Show” and Hayward will host a press conference at the team’s practice facility on Thursday morning.
In detailing the moment of the injury in his blog, Hayward wrote, “Immediately, I knew something was off, but when I landed, it wasn’t a huge amount of pain. 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.'”
Hayward wrote how Cavaliers team physician Dr. James Rosneck relocated his dislocated ankle on the court, how Isaiah Thomas checked on him in the training room, and how he feared about his long-term prognosis. Hayward flew back to Boston with the team and noted the difficulty simply loading him onto the plane.
“They needed four people to carry me, and Coach [Brad] Stevens was one of those four people,” wrote Hayward. “There were probably 25 other people there that all wanted to help, but he wanted to make sure he was one of the people to do it. I mean…that’s just the person he is.”
Hayward said he got positive feedback from his doctors in Boston before and after surgery.
“The initial diagnosis from the doctors was pretty good. ‘If you were going to have a horrific leg injury, this would be the one to have,’ they basically told me,” wrote Hayward. “As bad as it looked, they said I’d have a full recovery if the surgery went well.”
While doctors were concerned about a spot of cartilage in his imaging, they found no additional concerns during surgery.
“The surgery had been really successful. The cartilage from the scan wasn’t related to the injury, and wasn’t a concern,” said Hayward. “Everything had gone extremely well.”
Hayward did not offer a timeline for his return to basketball activities and spent much of the post thanking those that have been part of an outpouring of support, including athletes that had endured season-ending injuries like Paul George. Hayward said Kobe Bryant emailed him after posting a message of encouragement on social media. Hayward noted that former President Barack Obama emailed as well.
Hayward, who signed a four-year, $128 million contract with Boston in July, wrote that, as he starts his rehab, he’s already envisioning a future when he’s back on the court in Boston.
“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,” wrote Hayward. “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 — a city that I’m still getting to know, but that I’ve connected with through all of this in ways beyond anything I could have imagined.”
The Celtics applied for and were granted an $8.4 million disabled player exception that they can use to add additional talent this season. Boston had won five straight games entering Wednesday’s tilt with the Kings since dropping their first two games of the year while rattled by the Hayward injury.
Before Wednesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, Stevens said Hayward had visited the team at the facility and recently traded in his hard cast for a walking boot. Stevens said Hayward is in high spirits and doing all he can to remain active.
“From everything I know, it’s not a whole lot, but he’s doing his chair shooting everyday,” said Stevens. “He seems to be in really good spirits, which is most important.”
Added Stevens: “Obviously, we’re anticipating and expecting to be a full complete great recovery but he certainly has a long road. The most important thing, again, is how he feels.”