What should have been a fun night in Boston turned bad when Gordon Hayward went down just 6:45 into his Boston Celtics career with what looked like a devastating injury.
The other players, including former Blue Devils Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum, were in a state of shock and disbelief as Hayward’s foot was wrenched backwards.
For many it brought up memories of gruesome injuries suffered by Paul George and Kevin Ware. Fortunately it may not be as bad as those were.
Hayward faces a dislocated ankle and a fractured tibia. We’re not saying it’s an easy recovery but it looked like a potentially career-ending injury. Neither of those injuries are good but we expect he can recover and resume his career.
In a nice bit of sportsmanship, LeBron James and some other Cavaliers visited Haywood shortly after he was injured.
As for Irving and Tatum, both played well in their Beantown debuts.
Irving finished with 22 points on 8-17 from the floor. He also had 10 assists and four rebounds.
And impressively, Tatum was the first Celtic since Larry Bird to finish with a double-double in his first start: he scored 14 points on 5-12 from the floor, grabbed 10 boards (four offensive) and passed out three assists.
Hayward’s injury is bad for the Celtics but we remember a story Bob Knight told a while back about an older coach who lost a player. Basically he said “who’s next?”
It sounded callous but he had a serious point: the coach can’t afford to worry about what’s happened. He has to prepare for what will happen.
With both Hayward and Marcus Morris both out, Tatum will get serious minutes much sooner than anyone expected. What will he do with the opportunity?
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