The Boston Celtics had a surprisingly successful 2017-18 campaign. And Gordon Hayward is human enough to admit that irked him a bit.
The Athletic on Monday released the first installment of its video series documenting Hayward’s recovery from a gruesome ankle injury he suffered on Boston’s opening night last season. The 11-minute video features a candid interview with the Celtics forward, who admitted it was quite frustrating to watch his team rattle off 16 consecutive wins right after he got hurt.
“On the one side, this is awesome, my team is doing so well, this is why I joined the Celtics,” Hayward says in the video. “And on the other side, you’re sitting there like, ‘What the hell? These guys are winning without me.’ It’s like, they don’t even need me.”
Hayward hinted at this mindset in a recent interview, telling Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast a part of him was rooting for the C’s to lose. He elaborated on that complicated emotional state in Monday’s video.
“Getting hurt and being hurt, not being able to be out there, and then feeling like you’re not part of the team, feeling like they don’t need you, it was just a mixed bag of emotions,” Hayward said. “But you’re sitting there just thinking to yourself, like, ‘That could be me. That should be me. I should be out there, but no, I’m here on the hospital bed.'”
So, how did Hayward endure the dark times? By commiserating with someone who knew (almost) exactly how he felt.
“I remember texting with Jeremy Lin, because he had gotten hurt as well,” Hayward said. “I remember saying something like, ‘Yeah, well my team’s like winning 18 games in a row. Like, they don’t even need me.’ And we joked about it. That makes it a little bit better for me, because you can relate to somebody else. Which I think is very helpful.”
Lin suffered a brutal knee injury on the Brooklyn Nets’ opening night last year — one day after Hayward went down — and missed the entire season, as well. The veteran guard since has been traded to the Atlanta Hawks, where, like Hayward, he’ll attempt to regain his pre-injury confidence.
The full video is worth a watch, as it also features behind-the-scenes footage from Hayward’s rehab sessions and interviews with his wife, Robyn, and members of the Celtics’ training staff.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images