It was the 17th of October when the entire Celtics Nation was buzzing ahead of the season opener on the road at the Quicken Loans Arena. The Boston Celtics were touted to be the heir to the Cavs for being the kings of the Eastern Conference. The threat looked legitimate with Kyrie Irving teaming up with Gordon Hayward at Boston in a blockbuster deals. Not to mention Jayson Tatum, who looks like an exciting prospect from the 2017 draft (he exceeded all our expectations). Celtics fans had every right to dream that this could be their year, the year that the King falls and a new dynasty begins.
But then came the shock, something that nobody was ready for. All their hopes were shattered as Gordon Hayward fractured his left tibia and dislocated his left ankle just 5 minutes into his Celtics debut. It was a terrible injury. You wouldn't need to be a Celtics fan to cry on seeing what happened to Hayward. He certainly was the last person who deserved it.
Gordon has always been a simple guy, away from the limelight, the fact that this had to happen to him out of all people was heart-breaking. He got his leg twisted really badly, something similar to what happened to Paul George while playing for Team USA in 2014. Everyone was in shock, Boston's season turned around in a matter of seconds. The more we saw about the injury, the worse it looked.
Prayers from around the world poured in for Hayward with the hashtag #PRAYFORHAYWARD being used by fellow NBA superstars and coaches. It looked highly unlikely that he would be back anytime soon. The Celtics looked a different team without him and people started to write them off with Charles Barkley being one of the many doubters who was later proved wrong as they went on a 16-game win Streak and made a playoff run right into the Eastern Conference Finals, taking the LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
In spite of all that Celtics fans would keep wondering what it could have been with Hayward on the Roster, Hayward assured fans he would be alright and showed signs of improvement.
There were rumors that he could be back for the Playoffs but the Celtics were not ready to take any such risks and let him recover. Hayward's injury allowed Rookie Jayson Tatum to get more minutes and shine in a role where he was one of their key players all along.
Hayward kept getting better and now looks ready. Although, there is no point in rushing him even now, what remains to be seen is whether he returns from the injury as the same player, which is going to be really hard after being out of action for a year. Brad Stevens could unlock parts of his game which we didn't even know about. He did it at Butler and could do it again. Hopefully, he will show the world what he can do and have a great season.
The Celtics are going to have a dynasty who will rule the Eastern Conference and probably the NBA for years to come and Gordon Hayward is going to be an integral part of it.