Like many of you I was on the edge of my seat waiting for opening night of the NBA to begin on Tuesday. I was most excited for the Cleveland/Boston match up because of all the things Boston has going for them this year. As we all know, players take a risk stepping onto the court every single night. One of the worst things to see in professional sports is an injury of any kind, let alone an injury that puts a player out for an entire season. The NFL saw a broken leg for JJ Watt this past week, and various torn ACLs, LCLs, and other tendon injuries in the preseason rendering others out for the year. The NBA followed suit with a couple of dramatic injuries in week 1 that will have a huge impact on the league as the 2017-2018 season plays out.
First, and most notably, Gordon Hayward went down just over 5 minutes into the very first game of the season as Boston went up against the Cleveland Cavaliers. His injury was particularly gruesome as he landed awkwardly breaking his tibia, and dislocating his ankle. The Celtics don’t have a timetable for his return, but he underwent successful surgery this week and is on the mend. Unfortunately for the Celtics, Hayward is unlikely to return this season so they’ll have to press on without him. Hayward’s injury sparked a an outcry of support fro across the league and also from other professional sports.
Paul George, who broke his leg in 2014 while playing for Team USA sent his prayers and support.
Hayward’s teammates huddled together to say a quick prayer as Hayward was being evaluated on the floor.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 18, 2017
And, JJ Watt tweeted his support for Hayward as he is also dealing with his own devastating injury this season.
Can't even put into words.
Feeling for you man.
Absolutely gut wrenching.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) October 18, 2017
Kobe Bryant even sent a note to Hayward offering some words of wisdom as Hayward approaches the recovery process.
Kobe’s message to Gordon Hayward seems like something we could all learn from. pic.twitter.com/aWBLkztNGF
— Josh Wilson (@JoshWilsonFS) October 19, 2017
Striking in the Eastern Conference once again, injury came to the Brooklyn Nets as Jeremy Lin ruptured his patellar tendon being forced to undergo surgery to make the repair. Lin’s injury will also render him out for the remainder of the 2017-2018 season. Just a day earlier Lin had tweeted his support for Hayward.
Wow…thats horrific…feel awful for Hayward
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) October 18, 2017
Lin grasped at his right knee as he looked toward the Brooklyn Nets’ bench saying, “I’m done,” before bursting into tears. Lin later tweeted, stating that God is always faithful and in control.
Hayward’s injury impacts the league on a large scale given how serious the Celtics are looking as contenders in the Eastern Conference. The competition in the East continues to struggle apart from the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Celtics were looking to be the most serious challenge to LeBron James this coming year with the acquisition of both Hayward and Kyrie Irving in the off season. Boston remains a playoff team, but without Hayward, they will have to work double time to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals once again. It’s unlikely the Celtics will be able to thwart the Cavs this year, but if Hayward makes a successful recovery they will hopefully get that chance again in 2018.
Lin’s injury will be a huge blow to the Brooklyn Nets who are working to rebuild, and looking at another losing season–particularly with Lin unavailable. The Nets placed dead last in the league last year, and they were unable to capture a top draft pick in the 2017 draft. Instead they were forced to get what they could with the 22nd overall pick choosing center Jarrett Allen out of Texas.
The only good to come out of these situations was the tremendous unity and support players showed for their fellow competitors. I continue to be impressed by the character of athletes in the NBA, and this week’s outpouring of love was incredible to witness. Hayward sent an encouraging message to his teammates, and the Celtics played it for all their fans before their home opener.
— NBA (@NBA) October 18, 2017
This is why I love the NBA. Prayers for both Hayward and Lin as they recover, and we hope they return very soon!