Your NBA career debut is a time for celebration. To revel in your athleticism and let the fans see what you’re all about.
Unfortunately for Gordon Hayward, the joyous occasion came to a swift and grisly end when he suffered one of the most gruesome injuries televised basketball has seen, during the opening night of his career with the Boston Celtics.
Hayward jumped into a pass midway through the first quarter and this happened:
Thoughts and prayers to Gordon Hayward. Terrible injury, heartbreaking to see such a great player go down like that. pic.twitter.com/XrW3IwZqT6
— Peter (@peter_427) October 18, 2017
Trying to receive from Celtics newcomer Kyrie Irving during a potential alley-oop, Hayward landed awkwardly on his left leg and his ankle turned in an unnatural position.
The accident occurred just midway through the first quarter of the team’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, at which point stoppage was called as medics rushed to help the injured 27-year-old forward, who frantically called for assistance.
As he grimaced in pain, the crowds were dumbfounded by the athlete’s misfortune. Both Celtics and Cavs players stood by and watched on in shock.
Teammates and Cavaliers players rushed to check on the 27-year-old.
Other athletes and professionals surrounded him as he was lifted onto a stretcher underneath the hoop, where the incident happened.
LeBron James was among them offering support:
LeBron gives Gordon Hayward some words of encouragement following his injury. pic.twitter.com/VW4HDDoP2k
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 18, 2017
Dwyane Wade, the Cavaliers new guard, knelt with his hand on his head nearby to say a prayer for Hayward, while team doctors attended to the Celtics star.
Others joined a circle and bowed their heads in quiet reverence for Hayward’s bravery and hopeful, for a quick recovery.
Of his condition, Celtics officials said on Twitter:
After a medical evaluation by Celtics/Cavs medical personnel Gordon Hayward has been diagnosed w/ a fractured left ankle.
#NEBHInjuryReport: After a medical evaluation by Celtics/Cavs medical personnel Gordon Hayward has been diagnosed w/ a fractured left ankle.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 18, 2017
Hayward, an Indiana native who’d previously played for Utah Jazz, was given a standing ovation as he was wheeled off court to the emergency room on a stretcher.
Many other athletes have shared their support for Hayward on Twitter.
The Cavaliers tweeted:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gordon Hayward. #biggerthanbasketball.
Paul Pierce, who played on the Celtics from 1998 to 2013, just simply tweeted, ‘OMG’, before ‘Prayers for GH’.
Memphis Grizzlies star, Mike Conley, took to Twitter and wrote:
Hate to see this happen to anyone! Prayers to Gordon Hayward.
While Hayward played with the Jazz last season, he averaged a career-high with 21.9 points and 47.1 field-goal percentage.
He also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists and shot 39.8 per cent on three-pointers and made his first All-Star team.
It’s unclear how long Hayward, who signed a $128 million four-year contract with the Celtics in July, will be out for.
The Celtics ended up losing to the Cavs 102-99. We wish Hayward a speedy recovery.
Leg injuries are of course not uncommon in any competitive athletic sport.
Hayward’s injury is reminiscent of the leg break French Olympic gymnast Samir Ait Said suffered doing the vault during the team preliminaries.
Spectators recalled how Samir Ait Said landed awkwardly upon his landing and had to be taken out of competition on a stretcher, much like Hayward.
You’d think with survival of the fittest, our clever biological evolution would’ve strengthened up our ankles.