Celtics forward Gordon Hayward released a blog post on his website Wednesday before the Celtics’ game against the Sacremento Kings, recounting his shocking injury opening night, his surgery, his return home, and his first steps toward recovery.
The article is detailed and emotional. It’s worth it to read every sentence of the post both because Hayward is a solid writer and also to enjoy the stories he tells about how special it is to be a Celtic.
Hayward walked us through his thoughts during the play Boston ran that ended up changing the course of his career. He described the awkward feeling, the pain, and shock that went into the hours after his injury. Hayward described how former Celtic Isaiah Thomas was the first person to visit him in the locker room during the game.
“The first person who talked to me back there was Isaiah Thomas. He was already back there in a training room. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I know he said a prayer for me, like right next to me. He was just there for me. I’ve learned in a short time what a special guy Isaiah is.”
Hayward also recalled multiple people, including LeBron James, trying to console him in the locker room. When it was time to get on a plane to head back to Boston, Hayward’s stretcher posed a difficult task to load onto a plane, and Brad Stevens was there helping his player.
“They needed four people to carry me, and Coach Stevens was one of those four people. There were probably 25 other people there that all wanted to help, but he wanted to make sure he was one of the people to do it. I mean…that’s just the person he is.”
One tidbit that stuck out after the rest of the Celtics checked in with Hayward and showed how much they cared about him. Stevens, his wife Tracy, and Mike Zarren stayed with Gordon and his wife Robyn as they checked into the hospital at 2 a.m. Even with the second night of a back-to-back looming, Stevens staying with Hayward to make sure he was alright shows how deep the connection is with the coach and his players. It is no surprise to me whenever players speak highly of Brad Stevens the person.
Then Hayward went into detail about the decision making process regarding surgery and its outcomes.
At home, Hayward recounts some pretty hilarious stories about his daughters playing with his scooter and trying to make him feel better at home, an posted an adorable picture of his family on Halloween.
If you remember the night of Hayward’s injury, you can recall the amount of support players from across all sports were giving on social media. Not only has Hayward noticed those messages, but he has also seen the fans wishing him well too. Hayward has been in contact with Paul George frequently. George suffered a terrible leg injury in the summer of 2014, and has given the Celtics swingman advice on the recovery process.
“(George) was somebody that I was texting back and forth with. I was there with him back when he suffered a similar injury. He knows better than anyone, maybe, exactly what it is I’m going through, and will be going through. I’m thankful that he reached out right away, and that’s he’s someone I can continue to talk to.”
To wrap things up, Hayward looks toward the future instead of wallowing the past. He plans to help the Celtics and their young players in any way he can, and that he is very much looking forward to making his debut on the TD Garden floor.
“I keep imagining what it’s going to be like to step onto the floor at the Garden, and make my regular season debut as a Celtic. It’s going to be a little delayed. But with each day of my rehab, I’ll be that much closer to making it happen. I’m already dreaming about sharing that moment with everyone here in Boston—a city that I’m still getting to know, but that I’ve connected with through all of this in ways beyond anything I could have imagined.”
Celtics nation is wishing Hayward the very best on his road back to playing at an All-Star level, and the fans will certainly be waiting to give Gordon a huge ovation when he finally makes that awaited debut.