What to Know
- Celtics star Gordon Hayward fractured his tibia and dislocated his left ankle just minutes into Tuesday's season opener.
- Hayward underwent surgery on Wednesday night, and his father and wife said the procedure was a success.
- His agent told ESPN it is unlikely Hayward will be able to return this season.
The Boston Celtics said Gordon Hayward is expected to make a "full recovery" after undergoing successful surgery on Wednesday night.
The team announced Thursday afternoon that Hayward underwent "successful bony and ligamentous stabilization surgery for the fracture dislocation of his left ankle" sustained in Tuesday night's season opener.
Hayward's father tweeted Thursday morning the surgery was 'a big success,' and his wife Robyn posted her own message on social media saying "He did great with surgery! So now we are starting the recovery process." His agent, Mark Bartelstein, added that the surgery "went really well."
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No timetable has been set for his return, but Bartelstein told ESPN it remains unlikely the 27-year-old forward will return this season.
The Celtics player had arrived at New England Baptist Hospital on Wednesday after flying in from Cleveland, where he and former Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving played their first game in Celtics green.
Hayward came down awkwardly after an alley-oop pass in the first quarter, dislocating his left ankle and fracturing his leg.
In a video message on the Celtics' Twitter page Wednesday, Hayward spoke to his fans from his hospital bed.
"Wanted to say thank you to everyone whose had me in their thoughts and prayers," he said. "I'm gonna be alright.
"Hurting me that I can't be there for the home opener," Hayward went on to say in his video tweet. "I want nothing more than to be with my teammates and to walk out on that floor tonight. But I'll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck."
While the team initially tweeted that Hayward had been diagnosed with a broken ankle, Stevens said in a press conference Wednesday that hospital tests had confirmed his actual injuries.
"He put a lot of effort into trying to start his career out well in Boston, but this is a setback," Stevens added.
Despite the setback, the coach said he believes Hayward will be back to full health.
"We are expecting a full recovery," he said. "We know there are going to be a lot of tough days ahead on that recovery, but at the same time, I think, hopefully, he'll improve day to day."
Stevens coached Hayward at Butler University. After spending the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz, Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million contract to play for his college coach in Boston.
As Hayward lay on the court Tuesday night, the Quicken Loans Arena fell silent, with Celtics and Cavs players alike showing their concern. The crowds erupted in applause when he was carried off the floor on a stretcher. The following day, athletes and fans have taken to social media to support Hayward.
"Thanks for all the prayers for Gordon and our family," Hayward's wife, Robyn, tweeted Wednesday. "It sucks, but this is what happens."
Robyn Hayward's tweet included a quote, reading, "When everything seems like it's falling apart that's when God is putting things together just the way he wants it."
In their opener, the Celtics came back from a 16-point halftime deficit and jockeyed with Cleveland for the lead in the fourth quarter. The Cavs won their first game 102-99.
Wednesday night, the Celtics played their home opener without Hayward against the Milwaukee Bucks, but it was clear Hayward was on the mind of everyone.
Love for the forward was evident in every corner of TD Garden, as fans who miss him signed a giant "get well soon" banner for him, gave him a standing ovation, and even chanted his name.
The Bucks beat the Celtics 108–100.