Don’t get your hopes up, Boston Celtics fans.
Gordon Hayward underwent “successful” surgery Wednesday night in Boston to repair a dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia but is unlikely to return during the 2017-18 season, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski early Thursday morning.
There’s good news for the Celtics, though: The veteran forward is expected to “make a full recovery” and “return to his All-Star form,” per Bartelstein.
Hayward missing the entire season unfortunately was expected for those who witnessed his gruesome injury Tuesday night. The C’s forward hit the floor hard after an alley-oop attempt just five minutes into his Boston debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena, causing fans in the arena and those watching on TV to recoil in horror.
Hayward was transported from Cleveland on a team plane Tuesday night and taken straight to New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, where he received a visit from Celtics head coach Brad Stevens on Wednesday before undergoing surgery later that night.
The 27-year-old was there in spirit for the Celtics’ home opener at TD Garden, sharing a video message to fans from the hospital that aired on the JumboTron before Boston’s eventual loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Hayward inked a four-year maximum contract with the C’s this summer, and the hope is that he’ll return fully healthy next fall to prove his worth in Boston. For now, though, the Celtics will have to get used to life without one of their best free agent signings ever.
UPDATE (8:30 a.m. ET): Hayward’s father, Gordon Sr., declared his son’s surgery a “big success” Thursday morning on Twitter.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images