CLEVELAND, Ohio — His injury made people around the world cringe.
After signing with the Boston Celtics in the off-season as a free agent, Gordon Hayward was injured in the sixth minute of his first game for the Celtics — in Cleveland. He crumpled to the floor with a gruesome ankle injury, and players on both teams reacted in horror at the sight.
Hayward later underwent successful bony and ligamentous stabilization surgery.
On Thursday, Hayward opened up to TODAY about the whole ordeal.
“I remember looking at (my foot) and it just doesn’t look normal and didn’t look right at all,” Hayward said. “That’ll definitely be with me forever, to look down and see my foot the wrong way…I’m signaling to the ref like, ‘Look at this, stop the play.’ Immediately he stops the play, and then all of a sudden it hit me. It was immense pain coming through.”
Hayward said his parents were at the game at the time. He said his wife, Robyn and his two children have helped him recover so he can get back to playing condition.
“They just know daddy has a boo boo, and so they like to decorate it with stickers and give it a hug and a kiss because that’s what we do when they get boo boos,” he said. “It’s a little comic relief with them, for sure.”
He said he is focused on returning next season and continuing with a successful career.
“I’m going to come back better than ever, and I firmly believe that, but I know it’s gonna be a long and difficult process,” he said. “Not being able to play with my team and do the little things that maybe I took for granted, I won’t take for granted anymore.”