Gordon Hayward’s gruesome ankle injury proved to be a vast challenge to overcome for his Boston Celtics teammates through a season-opening road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The mental shock of such a devastating blow to the team as well as concerns for his future as a player were evident in the faces of his teammates throughout the first half of the game — shellshocked after witnessing such a freak injury take place.
The newly-signed Celtic sustained a dislocated left ankle and a fractured tibia only 6:45 into his debut in green, being carted off the hardwood and immediately transported by Medflight back to Boston, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston; expected to undergo surgery shortly.
While several on-air TNT commentators likened this injury to the one sustained by Paul George during a Team USA scrimmage, which saw him miss the majority of the upcoming season — this injury can prove drastically different.
According to Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes, this violent snap of the left ankle could have even further repercussions given the unnatural place where the injury took place and can have severe ligament damage to repair.
“George’s injury was an open fracture of both the tibia and the fibula. Though a rod was eventually inserted to stabilize the fracture site, the break actually occurred in a favorable location. By breaking the bones near the mid-shaft, George was able to avoid extensive ligament and tendon damage.
However, it is unlikely Hayward was as fortunate. His break occurred at the distal end of the tibia, a site that serves as an anchor site for multiple ligaments. Furthermore, it is rare that a dislocation occurs without some level of ligament or soft tissue damage. Damage to the articular cartilage of the talus must also be considered.
Surgery to fix the area will likely involve surgical screws and a plate, not a rod. These implants help stabilize the injury site as the associated ligament damage heals. Any complex ligament injuries may need to be surgically addressed as well.”
Gordon Hayward’s injury could cost him more than the Celtics’ season, but also an extended rehabilitation process, not only waiting for his fracture to be completely repaired, but for his tendons to regain the strength and stability to withstand the wear-and-tear his 6-foot-8 frame puts on a daily basis.