Gordon Hayward: Boston Celtics star vows he’ll return ‘better than ever’

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 17: Gordon Hayward
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 17: Gordon Hayward /

Boston Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward has opened up about his gruesome season-ending leg injury and is confidence he’ll return “better than ever.”

As a Boston Celtics fan, the NBA season took a major hit just five minutes into the first game of the 2017-18 NBA season against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  As an observer, I felt Gordon Hayward’s pain through the horror in his face as he looked down at a foot that was turned the wrong way.

It was hard to watch.  It was hard to believe.

But, it is hard to fathom what was going through the mind of the 27-year-old star who came to Boston to shine in the spotlight.  No one imagined back in July when he announced his decision to join the Celtics, that the spotlight would be him describing the agony of his first game in a green and white uniform.

Strength within pain

Boston Celtics
CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 17: Gordon Hayward /

Hayward shared the pain of his experience in a sit-down interview with Matt Lauer on “The Today show” Thursday morning.  Expected to make a full recovery and already in the process of rehabbing his lower leg, the Celtics star talked about the reaction of his parents, the support he received from fellow NBA star Paul George, who suffered a similar injury and most revealing, he shared what went through his mind the moment he looked down at his foot.

"“It felt like forever before the doctors and the trainers ran over because, for a moment there, I’m just looking at it and that’s when I grabbed my head like, ‘oh no, this is not good,’” Hayward said in the interview.  “When they finally popped it back into place it hurt, and when they were carting me out that’s when it hit me emotionally…like, am I done?  Is this my career? Is this over?”"

Back better than ever

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At first glance, the answers to those questions seemed dim.  But, with the extent of the injury not being as horrific as it looked, Hayward is not only expected to return to the game he loves, he told Lauer that he firmly believes he is going to “come back better than ever.”

That is definitely good for us Boston Celtics fans.  With the team currently playing like they are, one could only imagine how much better a team in the midst of a six-game winning streak would be.  For now, it is good that he is back around the team and doing everything necessary to work his way back.

Although this isn’t how he expected to spend the first season of his four-year, $128 million deal, the strength and dedication Gordon Hayward is demonstrating is just as valuable, if not more to his team.

As mentioned above, the team is playing great basketball.  Kyrie Irving is showing All-Star leadership with his playmaking and surprising defense, Al Horford is playing with high intensity and young players Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are showing the NBA they will be a force to be reckoned with sooner rather than later.

Next: The 5 faces of the Boston Celtics: The coach, the stars and the future

Sure, they miss Hayward out there on the floor with them, but once he returns, when he returns, this Boston Celtics team will be better than we imagined before the opening tip off of the 2017-18 NBA season.