Stop me if you've heard this one before: Gordon Hayward is hurt and will miss significant time. Yes, it has happened again. Hayward suffered a right foot sprain during the Charlotte Hornets' game against the Indiana Pacers last night and will miss a month, the team announced today.
Man, you really gotta feel for the guy at this point. He was playing excellent basketball all season for the surprisingly-good Hornets, performing as the player everyone thought he was going to be when Hayward inked a max contract with the Boston Celtics during free agency in 2017. Then he broke his leg and missed all of that season. He spent 2018 working his way back into form and looked closer to his old self in 2019 before he broke his hand, which was shortly followed by the season getting postponed.
Hayward entered the Orlando bubble with the Celtics and played great... until he hurt his foot in the first round against the Sixers and missed the rest of that series and all of the next before returning to play against the Heat in the ECF, where he was clearly still not 100 percent.
Hayward decided to shock the world and sign with Charlotte instead of playing out his final year in Boston. He sprained his finger at the beginning of the season but managed to play through it and helped propel Charlotte from a lottery squad to a legitimate playoff contender that doubled as one of the most fun teams in basketball.
LaMelo Ball got hurt and suddenly Hayward had to be The Man again for Charlotte. And he was doing it! In the seven games the team has played since Ball's injury, they've gone 5-2 and Hayward is the biggest reason for it. Now he's hurt. Again. Right as the push for the playoffs begins in earnest and he would have had a chance to prove everyone who slammed the Hornets for giving him another big deal wrong.
Hayward really might be cursed. As much as someone who has made $175 million playing basketball to date can be cursed, anyway. Every single time he gets some momentum going with his play and health, he suffers some kind of minor or major ailment that derails all of that momentum completely and he has to start over again. Without fail, this is what happens.
Hayward will be ready to come back for the end of the season and the playoffs if the Hornets can keep the ship afloat without their stellar rookie or steady veteran. But with the pattern we've seen play out, it'll take Hayward a little bit to get back to full speed and then he'll get hurt. Again. Hopefully it doesn't happen this time. If it does, Hayward should start looking into some witch doctor solutions to get rid of the curse plaguing his career.