The Boston Celtics’ star season ends early due to gruesome ankle injury
The Boston Celtics’ organization had a very eventful and exciting offseason. It’s not often an NBA franchise has the assets and financial ability to acquire two veteran all-stars in the same summer, especially when those players are as talented as Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
The Celtics fanbase was ecstatic over the summer and so was their front office. One of the United States’ most heralded sports cities finally was being placed back on the map for its basketball team. The expectations of this team were growing with each passing week.
The excitement and hype behind the Bostons Celtics grew even higher and tensions started to flare. Their first matchup was the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers defeated the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals last year which is also current Boston Celtic Kyrie Irving’s former team.
From the first tip, the game was living up to all the expectations. It was a fast-paced, first couple of minutes that encompassed many thunderous dunks. The stadium was electric and fans were entertained.
However, the mood completely changed when the game clock struck 6:45.
Kyrie Irving corralled the ball in his defensive zone and immediately broke up the court. He dribbles towards the hoop and decided to throw an alley-oop to the cutting Hayward. NBA all-star and future Hall of Famer Lebron James had other ideas.
James jumped up to contest the pass thrown by Irving. The bigger James unintentionally bumped into Hayward mid-air, knocking Hayward off balance. Hayward landed awkwardly on his left leg in a way that was displeasing to the eye.
The play continued on for a couple seconds until everyone in the stadium’s attention turned to Hayward. Hayward lay on the ground grimacing in agony. His ankle jutted out gruesomely to the side.
Many of the fans in the stadium had to look away as they could not stomach the sight of one of the most gruesome injuries in NBA history. The entire Cavaliers bench ran from the scene as if something was chasing them
Fans watching on TV had the same reaction even though the broadcast cut showing Hayward’s leg after a couple seconds. “When I saw the play happen, I was at dinner with my dad. We both agreed that it was one of the most gruesome sports injuries we had ever seen,” said Jack Morton, a senior at BL.
All medical staff in the building rushed to Hayward immediately. The staff covered his leg so that no one could see it. Hayward was carried out of the stadium and was flown back to Boston within the hour.
Even with this tragic event in the minds of the players, the game continued. The Cavaliers started to pull away minutes after the injury. The loss of the all-star forced the Celtics to change their lineup unexpectedly.
After getting down by 18 points, the Celtics battled hard for their lost teammate and eventually took the lead late in the game. However, the Celtics could not hold on to close the game and eventually lost the game 102-99
The headlines after the game did not focus on the outcome of the game. Social media was only erupting about the play that occurred at the 6:45 mark of the first quarter. Everyone was talking about how the Celtics will be affected.
To replace Hayward in the starting lineup during the game, the Celtics put in Marcus Smart. Smart is an athletic player who excels on defense and makes the gritty plays but is nowhere near the scoring threat of Hayward. Smart does not give the Celtics offense the shooting ability they would need to keep up on the scoreboard with the Cavaliers.
Until further notice, Smart will still be in the starting five.
The Celtics are a team who have a lot of rookies on their roster, most notably Jaylen Brown, due to the roster cuts they made in the offseason to free up cap space for Hayward and Irving. Rookies like Brown, Semi Ojeleye, Abdel Nader, Guerschon Yabusele and Daniel Theis will have to play more extensive minutes every game now that the team is without Hayward. Many fans are interested to see how the rookies will respond to being rushed into the thick of the action but also understand these rookies will more than likely be overcome by the game speed of the NBA.
Irving stands alone as the Celtics only star. Coming from the Cavaliers, Irving is used to a winning locker room and another superstar by his side. The entire NBA fanbase wants to see if Irving will be able to lead an NBA franchise to success by his lonesome.
The last time Irving was on a team with no other superstars, his team was the worst team in the NBA. Irving was on the Cavaliers without James and other all-star Kevin Love. However, no blame was put on Irving for the team’s lack of success.
The Celtics’ success will rely all on Irving’s readiness to lead a team and how quickly the rookies are able to develop.