Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said Gordon Hayward will "fight like hell" to return to the floor after suffering a fractured tibia and dislocation of his left ankle in Tuesday's season-opening loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"We know G is going to fight like hell to get back on the court," Irving said, per Celtics Wire's Jared Weiss.
Hayward, who signed with the Celtics in July, lasted a little less than six minutes into his debut before suffering a gruesome ankle injury. He and LeBron James had a slight collision that resulted in Hayward landing awkwardly and suffering an obvious dislocation of his left ankle.
The All-Star forward stayed down on the floor for an extended period before being tended to by members of the Celtics training staff and players on both teams.
"You hurt for him," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who spearheaded Boston's recruitment of Hayward and previously coached him at Butler. "I really feel for him."
The Celtics trailed 54-38 at the break but made a spirited comeback in the third quarter that led to a back-and-forth final 12 minutes. The two teams exchanged the lead four times and were tied on three occasions in the fourth. Irving missed a game-tying three as time expired.
"There's still a game to be played, as sh--ty as that sounds, but we're professionals and had to pick ourselves up," Irving said, per Weiss.
Irving was playing in his first game as a Celtic after a summer blockbuster that saw the defending Eastern Conference finalists swap point guards. He finished with 22 points and 10 assists.
While no official proclamation has been made, odds are Irving will spend the remainder of the 2017-18 season playing without Hayward to help shoulder the offensive load.