As we saw earlier in the videos of the Cleveland bench, almost all the players on the Cavaliers had a front row seat for Gordon Hayward’s devastating injury.
Hayward suffered a dislocated ankle and a fractured tibia that brought back memories of Louisville’s Kevin Ware and the horrific injury he suffered during the 2013 NCAA Tournament and reactions of the other players reflected it.
Following the game, several players on the Cavaliers shared what their immediate reaction was to seeing one of their NBA brethren go down with such a devastating injury right in front of them.
Jeff Green was on the Cavs bench when it happened, and as we saw in the videos, his initial reaction was to run for the tunnel.
“I was hoping I didn’t see what I saw,” Green told Bleacher Report. “It was gruesome. I didn’t expect to see that when he rolled and turned our way. I thought it was his lower back or his ass or something. You never wish injury on anyone, especially such a good player like that.”
LeBron James, who followed Hayward into the Cavaliers’ locker room along with Isaiah Thomas, was asked what he was thinking at the time…
“A lot,” James said. “I’ve seen a couple injuries like that in my lifetime. Paul George, when [a similar injury] happened to Paul. I was watching the game with Shaun Livingston when he was with the Clippers. And I was watching NCAA basketball with Kevin Ware when he was at Louisville.
“Those are injuries that you never see coming, that you never want to happen no matter who it is, no matter how much competitive nature you have. It’s very unfortunate.”
Kevin Love, who was also seen reacting with shock on the Cavs bench, actually turned his head completely away from the court after catching a glimpse of Hayward’s damaged leg.
“It’s sad,” Love added. “You see someone go down like that. It was ugly. It wasn’t pretty. You can just hope for the best as he recovers.”
“This is a competitive game,” Wade said. “We all compete. But it’s a brotherhood at the end of the day, and no one wants to see that at all.”
Hopefully with the amazing words of encouragement Hayward has received from the likes of Kobe Bryant and many others he can make a full recovery and be back on the court before we know it.
According to Hayward’s wife Robyn and his dad, also named Gordon, the messages are being received loud and clear.