YOU can’t sugarcoat it, Gordon Hayward’s injury is shattering. Shattering to the millions of fans worldwide that tuned into Opening Night and witnessed the horrific fractured ankle. Shattering to his NBA peers who are devastated to see one of their brothers go down. Shattering to the rest of his Celtics teammates with championship aspirations, not forgetting the loyal Boston fans. And most of all, shattering to the All-Star calibre forward who made the tough decision to leave Utah for a fresh start and join his former college coach to complete the quest of winning a title. So now what?

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INITIALLY, I was going to find a video to put in the article, but I just can’t bring myself to put my fans through that. That and I really don’t want to watch that gruesome incident again. So instead here’s all you need to see: the player’s reaction to the devastating incident.

CLEARLY, the injury to Hayward changes the entire makeup of the Eastern Conference and makes life alot harder for Boston. However, they went on to prove that not all hope is lost, falling to Cleveland by just three points on Opening Night. A large part of the reason they were able to hang in against the Cavs was because of Jaylen Brown’s performance with the second year pro netting 25 points in a losing effort.

BOSTON fans can take solace in knowing that while Hayward will clearly be missed there is plenty of potential for someone to step up in is his absence. Both Brown and rookie forward Jayson Tatum are expected to share time at both forward spots and while I don’t expect them to be All-Star’s they can definitely absorb some of the responsibilities left by the Gordon Hayward sized hole in their roster.

HAYWARD’S injury casts a dark cloud over the NBA and gives us an unfair, stark reminder that this is the nature of professional sports. In the past fortnight NFL superstars J.J. Watt, Odell Beckham and Aaron Rodgers have all gone down with potential season-ending injuries, turning the competition on its head. While their injuries weren’t as graphically dramatic as Hayward’s, we have seen these type of breaks in basketball before. Paul George (who tragically broke his leg in a Team USA scrimmage in 2014) was one of the first players to voice his support for Hayward, tweeting out and asking God to help the Celtics forward get through this.

FORMER Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered perhaps the most gruesome injury seen in pro sports, breaking his leg in an Elite Eight game against Duke. As horrible as these injuries were both George and Ware made their triumphant return to the basketball court following their stint on the sidelines and everyone is praying that Gordon Hayward can do the same. Sure, it may take 18 months before we see Boston’s newest star back on his feet and producing at his full capacity, but there is still definitely belief that this won’t end his career.

What Now For The Boston Celtics? 1Image from sbnation.com

IN good news for Boston, they can still be one of the best teams in the East. And even if they don’t go on to win the title, then they will likely regain Hayward at some point in the 2018-19 season. A young, talented roster led by a young, talented coach means that their championship window is far from closed and they can still contend for years to come. For now, the team needs to accept the reality that they have lost their star summer signing from the offseason. However, they do have plenty of exciting, hungry prospects on their roster, eager to step up. They may be down, but they are not out.

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