How Gordon Hayward’s Injury Will Change the NBA

Small forward went down in first quarter of last night's game with gruesome ankle injury.

Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics is sits on the floor after being injured while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
By Will Levith / October 18, 2017 12:58 pm

If you weren’t watching the big game between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers last night, which tipped off the young NBA season, count yourself among the lucky. You didn’t have to watch Celtics’ small forward Gordon Hayward take a hard fall just five minutes into the first quarter and suffer what can only be described as a Misery-like ankle injury.

Needless to say, he’s likely done for the season.

 

But as The Ringer notes, the reverberations of Hayward’s injury will not only be felt by his immediate team, but also the league itself. “It’s unusual, if not unprecedented, for a player just signed to a max contract to suffer such a significant injury,” writes Kevin O’Connor.

The injury opens up doors for young stars to emerge on the Celtics, and the burden will fall more heavily on the shoulders of offseason signee Kyrie Irving to keep the Celtics on par with preseason predictions that they will contend in the Eastern Conference. Simply put, “Irving will need to become the transcendent superstar he aspires to be sooner than the Celtics originally thought they’d need him to be,” says O’Connor.

Hayward’s injury also, of course, opens the doors for other contenders in the East. “With Boston more vulnerable, the window is open wider for the Wizards, Raptors, or even the Bucks to make a strong playoff push to the Eastern Conference finals,” explains O’Connor.