Hayward suffers horrific leg break in NBA opener

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!

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.

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.