Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant posted a message of support for Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward after he suffered a gruesome ankle injury Tuesday night in the team's season-opening road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Bryant provided advice for Hayward on Instagram as he begins the long road to recovery:
The 27-year-old Indiana native suffered the injury in the first quarter of his Celtics debut. He signed a four-year, $128 million contract with Boston in free agency after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Utah Jazz.
"You hurt for him," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game. "It's a tough, tough deal, but I guess that's part of the risk of injury. I really feel for him."
Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com noted Hayward is expected to undergo testing Wednesday to determine the next course of action. An official timetable for his recovery hasn't been released.
Bryant's message comes after he spent time with the forward last year to help him work on his mid-range game. Hayward described the week he spent with Kobe to ESPN's Zach Lowe in December.
"He's one of the best to ever do it, and it was one of my best weeks ever," he said.
The longtime Lakers stalwart also has experience coming back from major injuries. He missed all but six games during the 2013-14 campaign due to Achilles and knee ailments. He returned to play 35 games the following season before suffering a rotator cuff tear in his shoulder.
Bryant is the latest in a long list of athletes from around the sports world to pass along their support for Hayward since Tuesday night.
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