Brad Stevens always has been somewhat of a father figure to Gordon Hayward.
Stevens was Hayward’s college coach during their time at Butler University, and the duo reconnected when Hayward decided to join the Boston Celtics in free agency this summer.
Unfortunately for Hayward, his debut Celtics season was cut extremely short. In Boston’s season-opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the star forward sustained a gruesome ankle, lower-leg injury which will sideline him for the duration of the 2017-18 season.
Following the injury, Hayward was forced to remain at Quicken Loans Arena until the game was over and eventually flew home with the team. In a blog post published Wednesday, Hayward recalled how difficult it was to board the plane that night, but there was a familiar face who remained right by his side.
“Getting me onto the plane wasn’t easy,” Hayward writes. “I was on a stretcher, and I had to get carried up two flights of stairs. The needed four people to carry me, and Coach Stevens was one of those four people. There were probably 25 other people there that all wanted to help, but he wanted to make sure he was one of those people to do it. I mean … that’s just the person he is.”
The Stevens family has been at Hayward’s beck and call ever since the injury. Not long before surgery, Hayward asked his head coach for a basketball, which Stevens’ wife, Tracy, delivered to the Hayward residence in the coming days.
It’s safe to say Stevens will be in Hayward’s corner throughout his rehab and beyond.
Thumbnail photo via John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports Images