Toronto — The video of the play itself was all over social media, and difficult to miss. It was difficult to watch, also.
The gruesome ankle fracture injury suffered by NBA basketball player Gordon Hayward, in his first game as a Boston Celtic on the NBA’s opening night, was the talk of the sports world Wednesday.
And that included the Red Wings’ locker room, as pro athletes sympathized, as well admitted they can’t watch a horrible accident like the one suffered by Hayward.
“I don’t think a lot of guys like seeing that stuff,” said defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who happens to be out of the lineup with, of course, an ankle injury. “I know I don’t. You just hope everything turns out OK.”
Still, most players couldn’t get away from it on social media, with so many pictures and videos of Hayward coming down on his ankle after reaching for an errant alley-oop pass.
“It was brutal,” said forward Riley Sheahan, shaking his head. “I feel bad for the guy, going to a new team and the start of the season. Hopefully he recovers well.”
Forward Anthony Mantha agreed with Sheahan that Hayward’s injury was about as gruesome as they’ve seen in sports.
Sheahan remembers Buffalo goalie Clint Malarchuk getting cut on his throat by a skate blade, which likely was about as bad an injury in hockey as anyone can remember.
But Sheahan doesn’t think, and several other Red Wings agreed, that athletes go about their daily routine thinking about the possibility of that sort of career-threatening occurrence at a moment’s notice.
“You know the odds aren’t very high of that happening,” Sheahan said. “You just try to not think that way, or the possibility of it happening. It’s scary to think about.”
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said fans don’t see some of the severe cuts or breaks in hockey because of the equipment, and socks and jerseys being worn.
Ericsson saw a similar injury to Hayward’s in Swedish soccer once.
“You just feel bad for the guy,” Ericsson said.
On the mend
DeKeyser (sprained ankle) went on the ice for Wednesday’s morning skate, but isn’t returning to the lineup for a few more games.
DeKeyser blocked a shot Oct. 10 in Dallas, and in the process, hurt the inside of his foot as well as sprained his left ankle as he absorbed the shot.
Wednesday’s game was the fourth consecutive DeKeyser has missed, with another week and possibly two, likely needed.
“I went out a little bit yesterday (on the ice), too, but not long, (and) it didn’t feel as good,” DeKeyser said. “I kind of took the shot off the inside of my foot. I don’t really remember doing it. It’s more of the sprain that’s really keeping me out.
“That would be great, actually (only being out a week). It felt good (Wednesday). It’s still somewhat weak doing certain stuff. I just want to make sure to be ready to go in in the corners and when guys are leaning on you.
“You just have to make sure it’s strong enough to hold up and not get hurt again.”
Coach Jeff Blashill isn’t going to put a timeline on DeKeyser’s return.
“It’s good to see DK back (on the ice),” Blashill said. “Hopefully he’ll get back soon. He’s making progress on it.”
The hockey world was saddened Wednesday to hear of the death of Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie.
Downie, 53, died of brain cancer.
Music from the Tragically Hip can be heard in nearly every NHL locker room. Downie was a big fan of the sport, and players and coaches around the league were fans of his.
“I am a fan,” Blashill said. “I was a fan growing up and I’m still a fan. I got a lot of it (the Hip’s music) on my iphone. It’s just sad. But the one thing that was neat was as they went through their final tour, was to see the impact Gord had on a lot of people. He left a hell of a mark.”
Blashill didn’t have an explanation as to why hockey players were so drawn to the music.
“There are a lot of Canadian bands, but for whatever reason, I know when I was in college, it was huge in our locker room,” Blashill said. “I just really liked their music.”