Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving sent out a message of support for teammate Gordon Hayward on Instagram Wednesday following Hayward's gruesome injury during Tuesday's opening-night loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Hayward, 27, reportedly suffered a dislocated left ankle and fractured tibia in the first quarter after jumping for an alley-oop and landing with his left leg bent behind his back.
Hayward was carted off the court following the injury, with players from both the Cavaliers and Celtics visibly upset after witnessing the play.
"I was hoping I didn't see what I saw," Cavaliers forward Jeff Green told Scott Sargent of Bleacher Report. "It was gruesome. I didn't expect to see that when he rolled and turned our way. I thought it was his lower back or his ass or something. You never wish injury on anyone, especially such a good player like that."
After the game, a number of players tweeted their support for Hayward, including Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George, who suffered a similarly gruesome injury in 2014:
Both the Celtics and Hayward's former team, the Utah Jazz, also tweeted their support:
Irving and Hayward were the major additions for the new-look Celtics this offseason, which also included rookie Jayson Tatum and center Aron Baynes. It's unclear whether Hayward will be able to return to the floor this season, which is a devastating development just five minutes into his Celtics career.
"It was very difficult," Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said of seeing the incident, per Sargent. "Even though he's on the opposing team, we're still a fraternity, and we're still brothers. He's been a great player in this league, an All-Star, and a model citizen as far as the NBA is concerned. We wish him well."
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