New Boston Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward suffered a potential season-ending injury after breaking his left ankle just five minutes into the NBA opener.
Hayward, who joined Boston as a $128 million free agent this summer, went up for a pass midway through the first quarter with LeBron James, and twisted his leg as he landed. The 27-year-old fell to the ground and looked shocked as he realised the extent of his injury.
WARNING: Graphic video!
GRAPHIC VIDEO: All the angles of the Gordon Hayward injury. This back door ally oop play was same play the Jazz ran for G a thousand times. pic.twitter.com/Si43FrXJJG
— Dave Noriega (@davenoriega) October 18, 2017
He put his hands to his face and lay down as silence fell over the Quicken Loans Arena.
Hayward’s teammates gathered in prayer as a distressed James covered his mouth and Cleveland players looked away. Medics put Hayward’s leg in an air cast and pushed him away on a stretcher.
The Cleveland crowd gave Hayward an ovation as he departed.
The Celtics later confirmed a left ankle break. They face several months without Hayward as he will likely require surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation period.
Hayward was making his debut for Boston after six seasons with the Utah Jazz.
God bless you bro @gordonhayward ! ?? help him thru this god!
— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) October 18, 2017
Cleveland went on to win the game 102-99 thanks to James, who hit 29 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and had nine assists.
Jaylen Brown top-scored for Boston with 25 points.