Gordon Hayward wasn’t able to take the court for the Celtics’ home-opener, but he still made sure his presence was felt Wednesday night.
One day after Hayward suffered a gruesome ankle injury five minutes into his Celtics’ debut, the Celtics showed a heartfelt message Hayward recorded from his hospital bed on the TD Garden’s jumbotron prior to their home-opener against the Bucks.
“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers,” said Hayward via video after he was introduced following the starting lineup introductions. “I’m going to be all right.”
“It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home-opener,” Hayward continued. “I want nothing more to be out there with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight, but I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.”
Hayward fractured his left ankle after going up for an alley-oop pass from Kyrie Irving and colliding with LeBron James mid-air less than six minutes into the Celtics’ season-opener against the Cavaliers Tuesday.
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Hayward was seen grimacing in pain before leaving the court — and eventually the arena — on a stretcher with his leg in a black compression cast.
NBA stars from around the league sent Hayward well-wishes via social media.
Later in the Celtics’ home-opener, a loud chorus of “Gordon Hayward!” chants could be heard during a pair of Bucks free throws.
Hayward underwent surgery Wednesday night and is unlikely to return this season, according to ESPN.