He suffered a season-ending ankle injury that put an end to his inaugural year in Boston only five minutes into it. The experience alone is one that few professional athletes can relate to, which is why Hayward reached out to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott Tuesday afternoon.
Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocated ankle in Sunday’s 37-34 win over the New York Giants, the gruesome imagery of his ankle certainly struck a chord with Hayward, who tweeted to the Cowboys QB.
“After my injury, hearing from (Paul George), a guy who had been through it, made a huge difference,” Hayward tweeted. “(Dak), if there’s anything I can do to help, don’t hesitate to reach out. You’re not alone!”
Prescott is reportedly in good spirits. He left the hospital Monday after successful surgery; no timetable has been set for his return.
2017: Paul George Reached Out To Gordon Hayward
For Hayward, it took more than a couple of seasons for him to start looking like his old self again. Six months removed from surgery, Hayward shared his progression in a blog post and credited All-Star Paul George for being a part of his support system throughout such a difficult time in his life.
“He’s (Paul George) obviously got a lot going on with what he’s doing, just in his own season,” Hayward wrote. “So for him to still take the time to hit me up and check in on me to see how I’m doing, that’s been really cool. His message is pretty simple, but it comes from an important place.”
George’s advice prepared Hayward for not only the physical setbacks but, also, prepared Gordon for the mental strain it caused.
“He tells me to continue to work every day and not get frustrated by setbacks, because there are going to be setbacks,” Hayward wrote. “There are going to be days where you feel really good, and there are going to be days where it is a lot more sore than normal. There are days where you feel like you take two or three steps backward, but he’s told me not to get frustrated by that. In time, I’ll be 100 percent and healthy. Just continue to work. That’s kind of been the general message.”
Paul George’s Career Setback
George’s serious injury happened during an intrasquad scrimmage for the U.S. national team in the summer of 2014. George, who was 23-years-old at the time, bounced back when most weren’t sure he’d be the same All-Star he was prior to the injury but Paul proved them wrong – he averaged a career-high 23.1 points in his first full season back.
“The proof is in the results, that he has come back and been a star in the league, an All-Star every year since he got injured,” Hayward wrote about George. “He’s been through it and comes back stronger, so it gives me a lot of inspiration to see a guy go through something like that and come back so strong.”