Gordon Hayward Describes The Moment He Broke His Ankle In Horrifying Fashion On Opening Night
By now, the image of Gordon Hayward’s gruesome broken left ankle he suffered on opening night in his first game with his new team is likely burned in your memory forever. Just minutes into his Celtics debut, the 27-year-old went up for a backdoor alley oop thrown by his new teammate Kyrie Irving when his leg got caught beneath him. Minutes later, he was carted off the floor in a stretcher, his ankle as broken as can be, and his much anticipated inauguration in a Celtics uniform shattered with it.
In an extremely incisive post titled ‘In An Instant‘ written by Gordon himself, the All-Star recalls the incident and its aftermath, detailing the physical and emotional pain he experienced as well as the overwhelming support he received from his new teammates and his NBA brotherhood.
If you’re wondering what was going through the mind and body of a man staring at his foot pointing in an unnatural direction, allow Gordon to explain:
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.” I felt a sense of panic come over me and signaled to the ref, “Hey, look at this. You’ve got to stop the game.” And still, it didn’t seem like it was hurting that much.
Then all of a sudden, it came.
It was like once my brain figured out what had happened, I was hit with shots of pain. The training staff came running over to me super fast, but however long it was—three seconds, five seconds—I just remember sitting there, looking at my foot the wrong way, and it felt like an eternity. Dr. Rosneck, the Cavaliers doctor, braced me as he explained that they wanted to try and pop my ankle back into place. I held on, and the moment they did it, there was just a massive shot of pain, probably the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life.
Gordon distinctly remembers the first person to talk to him when he was carted back to the training rooms at the Q Arena to receive X-Rays: Isaiah Thomas, the man who has every right to be spiteful towards every player wearing green.
I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I know he said a prayer for me, like right next to me. He was just there for me. I’ve learned in a short time what a special guy Isaiah is.
Shockingly, Hayward waited for the game to end before heading on the team plane back to Boston, which contains some of the best hospitals on the planet. He had ingested no other pain medication besides Tylenol. He claims the physical pain was eased by the genuine support and encouragement of his brand new teammates–“Their support has at times overwhelmed me and it will not be forgotten.”
Thankfully, Gordon’s injury wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Yes, bones were broken and ligaments were torn, but surgeons were really worried if cartilage had been damaged. If that was the case, it wouldn’t be good. After surgeons opened up his foot, they learned that the cartilage hadn’t been affected. The surgery was a success.
Now, Hayward faces a long road to recovery. He put a hospital bed in the family room so that he could be around Robyn and his two young daughters, Bernie and Charlie, and is getting around just fine on a hospital-issued motorized scooter.
As for getting back to playing basketball, Hayward couldn’t be more eager.
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. 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.
Now, it’s all about getting back.
Time to begin.
Hopefully Hayward comes back stronger than ever.
[h/t Gordon Hayward]