Boston Celtics were stunned after Gordon Hayward’s horrific ankle injury early in the first quarter of their season-opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers, one that could keep him out for the season.
In his absence, No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum calmed his nerves and put on quite a performance typically not expected of a rookie in his NBA debut.
Tatum added 14 points and 10 rebounds to Boston’s 102-99 loss, which pushed him into exclusive company.
Without Hayward, the Celtics will rely on Tatum to take on a larger role, with Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier also filling out the offensive output.
Gordon Hayward’s injury
The broadcast noted it is a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle for Hayward.
Hayward was cutting along the baseline when he jumped for an alley-oop and fell to the floor with his leg bent underneath him.
Hayward’s leg was stabilized and he was carted off the floor. LeBron James, Cavaliers players and Celtics teammates shoot Hayward’s hand before he left the court.
Hayward, the former No. 9 overall selection, visited the Miami Heat, Celtics and Utah Jazz before making his free agency decision, eventually landing with Boston. He spent seven years with the Jazz.
Hayward, who is coming off an All-Star year for the Jazz and made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs, shook up the power in the Eastern Conference by adding a legitimate second offensive weapon to a Celtics team lacking one in last year’s playoffs.
He averaged a career-best 21 points and five rebounds per game last season.