Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Hayward underwent surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and a fractured tibia in Boston on Wednesday night, a procedure that Bartelstein labeled a success.
“We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form,” Bartelstein said.
All in Boston who bleed green woke up yesterday searching for, grasping to, and digesting tweets and sound clips of optimism around Gordon Hayward like Big Baby searches for, grasps to and digests full trays of breakfast meats at hotel buffets.
My brother and I must have texted back and forth about the opinions of at least 4 different orthopedists saying Hayward could, in theory, be back within 3-4 months. Kyrie Irving finished a get-well instagram caption with the date (or fraction? or bible verse?) 3/23. “Do you think that’s when he’s coming back? They play Portland on March 23rd!”
We all got doused with the cold water of reality (or in Big Baby’s case, they stopped serving breakfast at 10am) with the news last night that it’s more than likely that Hayward’s next game in green will come in the fall of 2018.
Reality feels even more harsh after the Celtics dropped to 0-2 last night. We’ll get to the game later down the page, but for now, just let it sink in that the revamped Celtics will be without their most versatile player– a former all-star, in the prime of his career. It’s time for acceptance.
Last thing– I am obviously in no way an athlete, but I’m an avid distance runner who regularly trains for and runs marathons. In August, as I was gearing up for a fall race with hopes of finally qualifying for the Boston Marathon, I got an MRI on my left tibia, which had been swelling up. The results came in, and with a Grade 3 Stress Reaction, I was told I needed to shut it down for 2 months– no fall marathon.
I use the personal anecdote because over the last 2 months I’ve been grumpy as hell (apologies to my fiance) and completely crushed. Injuries happen, but knowing that don’t make it easier when they take away what you’ve worked to accomplish. The fact that Gordon Hayward could compose himself to smile into the camera from his hospital bed and deliver that message to the Celtics and the fans at the TD Garden last night speaks volumes to his resolve and his outlook. Get well soon, Gordon.
On page 2, the Celtics offense got ugly last night
Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and his staff spent a month this summer trying to make the team’s system as simple as possible for players, but the Celtics still botched too many plays Wednesday night.
Stevens knew he needed to be smart about “not overdoing it” with information. With just four returning players, he recognized the Celtics would need time to build what he likes to call corporate knowledge. And that was before All-Star Gordon Hayward went down in the first quarter of the season opener, forcing Stevens to go deeper into his bench than he anticipated.
Asked how to address the issue, Kyrie Irving said simply, “Learn the plays.”
“Just understand the perception that we need in our preparation comes way before the games,” Irving continued. “Like I said, it’s going to come in waves and you see out there, we got Nader out there now, we got Shane (Larkin) out there, and to be honest with you, we haven’t even, in the first group, practiced with those guys. Now they’re out there playing big-time minutes and we need to utilize them and they gotta be in spots and know their spots 1 through 5. The reliance comes on the vets on this team and it trickles all the way down to the 15th guy. We gotta … remain confident, unwavering in our approach, and we’ll be fine.”
That did not look like a Brad Stevens offense last night (and Kyrie Irving did not look like Good Kyrie Irving… but I feel like it’s too early to start dissecting that. Let’s talk again next Thursday). And part of that comes from most of the young guys not knowing quite how to run a Brad Stevens offense yet. It was jarring to see Abdel Nader and Daniel Theis as two of the first guys off the bench. No offense to those guys, it’s just that I envisioned seeing them more in mop-up time than in the first quarter or guarding Giannis on the baseline (Theis was promptly put in the spin cycle).
Of course things were going to take time for these new look Cs, and the first few months of the season will likely include many losses like last night’s to a top-five team in the East. The Celtics were also coming off the second night of a back-to-back and carrying the emotional weight of the Hayward injury. But the entire Celtics team, 1 through 15, is going to need to commit to learning the tenets of Brad Stevens’ offensive approach, and learn them fast. It doesn’t get any easier on Friday night.
ESPNBoston — Celtics stumble forward without Gordon Hayward
The rest of the links: