Today on Season Ticket, host Chris Gasper (@cgasper) and The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, who was at the game in Cleveland, process Gordon Hayward's ghastly injury in the NBA season opener. They also discuss the Celtics' inspired second-half comeback, identify which players need to step up most in Hayward's absence, and debate how the injury affects the team's season outlook.
- Gary Washburn (@GwashburnGlobe), National NBA Writer, The Boston Globe
On watching the injury in person
Gary Washburn: I saw him fall awkwardly and then kind of slump to the floor. And then I was like, "that's not good." And then he started pointing at his ankle, and I was like, "oh, this is really bad." We don't have replays where we sit, so I just saw him point at his leg. And then you just saw the reaction. Everybody converged and some guys were turned away and the arena was like a morgue. It was solemn. People were groaning. I've seen a lot of injuries in my day covering sports. Never seen anything like that before in my career. It was the worst I've seen.
"I've seen a lot of injuries in my day covering sports. Never seen anything like that before in my career. It was the worst I've seen."
On why Hayward's injuries sent shockwaves throughout the NBA
Gary Washburn: These injuries in the NBA don't happen as much [as in the NFL], these season-ending injuries. How many times has [Gordon Hayward] jumped in the air with guys around him? Thousands! And that's the shocking part of this whole thing. NBA guys kind of realize their mortality, in a sense. These guys are in their 20s at their total athletic peaks. It was just, he jumped. Man, and it happened. The whole thing was surreal.
On watching the Celtics remain competitive even after Hayward's injury
Gary Washburn: I'm shocked that they were able to come back and play so well in the second half last night. It was scary. As a journalist, [I] wasn't even really watching the game. The first half was just a daze. You were just like, "I don't believe this just happened." It was just like, "oh, wow, they're down 18 [points]." And it was understandable!
"These guys are more resilient than we give them credit for."
On why there's hope for the Celtics in spite of the disastrous injury
Gary Washburn: I wouldn't call it a silver lining because it was a horrible night for the Celtics and the organization but, they came back [in the second half]. They literally could have won the game. There's hope. You've got 81 more games to play. And I just tend to think that if this had been in March, when they had already gathered their chemistry and now he's done for the year, I think, "man, that's tough." Because you've already played 54, 55 games with Hayward. They don't even know what it's like to play with this dude now. So, pretty much, the team that they start fielding, this is who they're gonna be.
On how the Celtics will move forward
Gary Washburn: These guys are more resilient than we give them credit for. I think once Gordon talks to his teammates, once they can visit him at the hospital, maybe they make a trip, I think guys will [find] a sense of normalcy. And then it's get to work, figure this thing out. How can we remain competitive? How can we remain a major factor in the East?