The moments that preceded Boston Celtics star guard Gordon Hayward breaking his leg in the first game of last season still haunt Kyrie Irving.
You see, Irving was the one responsible for Hayward being in the position that ultimately led to his season-ending injury. He led Hayward to the hoop with a dangerous alley-oop pass that he admits now shouldn’t have been made in the first place.
“I’m the one that threw the pass for the alley-oop, and I was just like holding on to that for a while,” Irving said during an appearance on the Bill Simmons podcast. “I’ll take part of the responsibility because he wasn’t really open — I saw D-Wade over there. He just came down wrong, and I was like, ‘Ah, f.'”
At the time, everyone wondered if that injury was going to catapult Boston into a tailspin. After all, Hayward, combined with Irving, was the team’s prized offseason acquisition — the player that was supposed to help the Celtics finally overtake the Cleveland Cavaliers in the east.
Obviously, Boston ended up figuring out a way to stay competitive and ultimately fell just shy of taking out LeBron James and Co. in the Eastern Conference Finals. And that was with both Hayward and Irving sidelined with injuries.
That said, Irving admitted he’s “still sick” about that play.
“I just was pissed,” Irving said. “I was pissed for our team and, more or less, for Gordon. He was just now getting to start a rhythm in preseason. It was just tough. I’m still sick about it. Because we had a really good training camp, like a really good training camp.”
The coming season should herald the return of Hayward, who’s made tremendous strides in his recovery since breaking his leg in such gruesome fashion. The Celtics will likely be right up there with a chance to make it to the NBA Finals once again, especially if James ends up in the Western Conference this summer.