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Former Los Angeles Lakers superstar #Kobe Bryant issued a message of encouragement to #Boston Celtics forward #Gordon Hayward, who suffered a gruesome ankle injury [VIDEO] Tuesday night. The injury took place six minutes into their 102-99 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA season-opener at Quicken Loans Arena. On his Instagram account, Bryant posted a lengthy message for Hayward, saying while he should be sad and mad about what happened, the Celtics star should move on and focus on his upcoming surgery. Bryant also advised Hayward to then shift his attention to the recovery process, which he called as a long journey. Last year, Bryant spent time with Hayward to help him work on his mid-range shooting.

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The 27-year-old Hayward was the Celtics’ biggest acquisition from the free agent market, signing him to a four-year contract worth $128 million. This came after a seven-year tenure with the Utah Jazz. In his last season with the Jazz, Hayward averaged a career-best 21.9 points per game, on top of 5.4 rebounds per game. Hayward led the Jazz to their first playoff appearance since 2012, beating the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round before losing to the Golden State Warriors in the next round. A ninth overall pick by the Jazz in the 2010 NBA Draft, Hayward averaged 15.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game during his seven-year stay in Utah.

Hayward to undergo further testing

According to Chris Forsberg of ESPN, Hayward will undergo testing to determine the next course of action on his injury.

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However, the Celtics have not released any timetable for his recovery. Hayward sustained the injury when he landed awkwardly after trying to catch an alley-oop pass [VIDEO]against LeBron James, who offered words of encouragement to the small forward while he was being treated on the floor. James also visited Hayward in the locker room, later on, to check on his condition.

Other athletes offer support for Hayward

In addition to Kobe Bryant, several athletes also extended their support for Hayward. Among them was Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who himself suffered a gruesome leg injury while playing for Team USA. On his Twitter account, George tweeted “God bless you bro @gordonhayward ! help him thru this god!”

Fellow NBA players like Zach LaVine, Myles Turner, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, Stephen Curry, and even his former team, the Jazz, reached out to Hayward via social media.