MIAMI (AP) — Brooklyn’s Jeremy Lin was horrified to see what happened to Gordon Hayward, whose season almost certainly ended in a most disturbing fashion five minutes into the Celtics’ season-opener.
A night later, Lin met a similar fate.
Here’s some of what should be celebrated from the opening nights of the NBA season: Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo had a 37-point game, Cleveland’s LeBron James was one assist away from a triple-double, Houston beat Golden State on the Warriors’ ring night and Miami’s Hassan Whiteside went for 26 points and 22 rebounds.
It all seems overshadowed by injuries.
No, this is not the start the NBA wanted.
“It’s tough watching that happen to anybody in the NBA,” said Golden State guard Shaun Livingston, whose horrific knee injury from 2007 — so bad that doctors originally thought he could lose his leg — was compared to the grotesque nature of Hayward’s injury Tuesday night. “It’s all a brotherhood. You want to see guys succeed.”
Many members of the brotherhood are ailing, none causing bigger shock waves than Hayward.
San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played yet this season because of a quadriceps injury. The Warriors sent Draymond Green to get an MRI on an aching knee that knocked him out of their season-opener early. Houston’s Chris Paul missed a game at Sacramento on Wednesday with knee pain. Cleveland’s Isaiah Thomas won’t be back until January, at least, while recovering from a hip injury.
And those guys, along with Hayward, are just the hurting All-Stars from last season.
“There’s no doubt we’ll get him back to be better than he was before,” said Mark Bartelstein, Hayward’s agent.
Lin’s injury was nowhere near as visibly horrifying as Hayward’s, but the end result was the same — a bad landing at Indiana on Wednesday left him in tears and saying, “I’m done, I’m done.”
His personal diagnosis was officially confirmed Thursday morning: Lin ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee, the Nets said.
“We feel awful that the injury will cost him the season,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said.
Plenty of other teams are missing key players and would-be starters.
Among them: Utah’s Dante Exum may miss the whole season with a dislocated left shoulder, Miami’s Rodney McGruder had surgery on a stress fracture in his leg, Phoenix’s Brandon Knight blew his knee out in the summer, San Antonio’s Tony Parker (leg) is still several weeks from returning, Indiana’s Glenn Robinson III (ankle) may miss half the season and Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker (knee) has months of rehab work left.
“You worry about guys getting nicked up,” Memphis forward Brandan Wright said. “Lot of big injuries … You want to just take care of your guys.”
Hayward had surgery Wednesday night and is likely to miss the remainder of the season, after breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle in Boston’s opener at Cleveland.
Livingston had no interest in seeing the replay of Hayward’s injury. He knows the road that awaits the Boston star.
“I’m not watching the video, but I’ve seen the pictures,” Livingston said. “Prayers go out to him. It’s going to be a long road back for him but if he puts his mind to it, is a man of faith, keeps good people around him … it’s going to be a long rehab for him but he’s very capable of coming back and being the same player.”