LeBron James may have something of a bitter rivalry of the Boston Celtics on the court, but Gordon Hayward’s gruesome injury on opening night seemed to break down those barriers.
Hayward suffered a broken ankle in Tuesday night’s game between the Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, with the guard landing awkwardly on a drive near the end of the first quarter and breaking his ankle. Video of the game showed Hayward’s foot hanging at a nearly 90-degree angle from the rest of his leg, while the guard writhed in agony on the floor.
Players from both teams were visibly upset at the injury, and LeBron James was particularly moved. After the end of the first quarter, James reportedly went over to the Boston Celtics locker room to console Hayward.
ESPN.com‘s Brian Windhorst noted that James paid a brief visit to Hayward during the break in the action and that Cleveland guard Isaiah Thomas also spoke with Hayward.
Bleacher Report noted that Thomas and Hayward were particularly close, with Hayward noting that Thomas played a big part in his coming to Boston.
“He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment,” Hayward said in a blog post on his official site. “He had talked a lot about
“He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.”
While LeBron James may be one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA, he has often shown a lot of compassion for other injured players. In 2015, LeBron was one of many to offer some words of encouragement to now-teammate Derrick Rose, who suffered what was his third serious knee injury in four seasons.
And LeBron James was not the only player to offer some encouragement to Gordon Hayward after his injury on Tuesday. Many others have taken to Twitter to wish him well, including another player with an infamous injury — Paul George, who suffered an equally horrific broken leg.
While the condolences from across the NBA and the locker room visit from LeBron James may be of some comfort to Gordon Hayward, he now faces the prospect of missing the entire season after playing just a handful of minutes in his Celtics debut.
[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]