CLEVELAND — Boston Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward had to be carted off of the court in the season opener with a broken left ankle.
Hayward went up for an alley-oop pass midway through the first quarter and fell to the court awkwardly after a small collision with Cleveland’s LeBron James. A hush fell over the Cavaliers arena as Hayward lay on the floor with his leg bent severely. Several Celtics teammates huddled near the bench in prayer. Hayward had his leg wrapped in an air cast as he exited the arena.
New Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, who threw the pass, and veteran Marcus Smart were among those visibly distraught at the injury.
Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million max contract in July to make the Celtics the chief competition for the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.