Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Gordon Hayward 'blessed' in returning to Celtics one year after gruesome injury

It’s been a long and winding road for Gordon Hayward.

One year ago on October 17, 2017, the Celtics forward was making his debut for Boston and suffered one of the more gruesome injuries you’ll ever see. Going up for an alley-oop dunk against the Cavs, his leg collapsed and snapped underneath the weight. Five minutes into his first game, his season was over.

Almost a year to the day, on Tuesday, Hayward returned to the court, making his home debut with the Celtics against the 76ers.

After receiving a rousing ovation from the Boston faithful upon his introduction, Hayward started off slow, missing his first shot. But he eventually settled in, contributing 10 points, five rebounds and four steals in 25 minutes of play, helping the Celtics to a 105-87 win.

After the game, Hayward shared how he felt about being back on the court for the first time in a year.

“It was so good to be out there, such a blessing to be playing basketball again,” Hayward told TNT after the game. “The first two minutes I was super gassed, I had so much adrenaline going, but such a blessing. The joy of being out here was amazing.”

When asked how he was going to get through frustrations that might come his way in returning to basketball again, Hayward said he would go back to those that helped him through his injury rehab.

“I’m going to lean on the same people that I leaned on to get me through the last part, first and foremost God, and then my family, but also my teammates too. We have a great group of guys, so we can lean on them.”

Hayward and the Celtics play again on Friday night at Toronto against the Raptors. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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