(GUARDIAN) - Gordon Hayward has detailed the moments after the horrific injury that he suffered on his Boston Celtics debut on Oct 17.
The All-Star forward landed awkwardly in a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio, fracturing his ankle and tearing ligaments and is expected to miss the entire National Basketball Association (NBA) season .
"My leg got caught underneath me... Immediately, I knew something was off, but when I landed, it wasn't a huge amount of pain. I rolled over and saw my foot, and it was pointed in completely the wrong direction," wrote Hayward in a Facebook post on Wednesday night (Nov 1).
"My first thought was, 'Oh. This isn't good. There's something very wrong here.'"
Hayward moved from Utah Jazz in the summer to join the Celtics, where he and his team were expected to challenge the Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference title.
Instead, he said his first thoughts were whether he would ever play again.
"I remember LeBron (James) coming over. I know I talked to Kyrie (Irving) and a bunch of my team-mates and coaches. All of them were wishing me well and praying for me, I think. Everything was a blur," he wrote.
"It was when the trainers were carting me off that I was just hit with this wave of emotion. All I could think was that it's all over. I did all this work. I moved to a new team. And now this happens. What is this going to do to me? Am I going to be able to come back? To play again? Am I done? Is my career over?"
Amazingly, considering the severity of his injury, Hayward travelled back with his team to Boston on the team plane with just "some Tylenol, but nothing like hardcore pain medicine" to dull his senses.
He said once doctors had a look at the injury, he was comforted.
"The initial diagnosis from the doctors was pretty good. 'If you were going to have a horrific leg injury, this would be the one to have,' they basically told me.
As bad as it looked, they said I'd have a full recovery if the surgery went well."
Hayward went to say the procedure was a success.
The American said he had been overwhelmed by the messages of support from fans on Twitter.
He also said other athletes who had suffered season-ending injuries, such as National Football League players JJ Watt and Odell Beckham Jr as well as retired Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, had been in contact with words of comfort.
There was also a message from a keen amateur basketball player.
"(Former US President) Barack Obama sent me an email, too. That was a pretty big deal."
The 27-year-old ended his post with his hopes for the future.
"I keep imagining what it's going to be like to step onto the floor... and make my regular season debut as a Celtic. It's going to be a little delayed. But with each day of my rehab, I'll be that much closer to making it happen. I'm already dreaming about sharing that moment with everyone here in Boston - a city that I'm still getting to know, but that I've connected with through all of this in ways beyond anything I could have imagined... Now, it's all about getting back... Time to begin."