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Hayward undergoes surgery, checks in with fans ahead of Celtics home opener

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Smart instead directed attention to the video board for Hayward's message. "It's been tough for him". "He's made a big impact on them". So certainly you miss that - and that camaraderie.

"So the doctors here have looked at it, our doctors have looked at it, and we'll know a lot more (when) he goes straight to the hospital when he gets home". Medical officials rushed to the floor and put his leg in an air cast before taking him off the court on a stretcher.

He will require surgery, of course, but both the Celtics and Hayward are still trying to decide when and where to have that procedure done. "We are bringing [rookie] Jabari Bird back and using one of his [G-League] two-way days today". A guy who can put the ball in the basket for you. "We haven't really gotten into it too much because we have our hands full tonight".

This puts a major dent to the Celtics' bid this campaign after being highly-touted as potential replacements to the Cavs on the Eastern Conference throne. While it'll surely be a long recovery for Hayward, there is no reason to believe he won't be ready for the start of training camp next season. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, the team will likely be given an $8.4 injury exception to search for replacements for Hayward.

Fans who never got to see Hayward in a Celtics uniform lined up before Wednesday night's game to sign a banner imploring him to get better and "come back stronger than ever" from the injury.