Rob Gronkowski knows how frustrating season-ending injuries can be. The tight end has missed 22 regular-season games over the past five seasons due to various ailments, including a torn ACL in 2013 and a herniated disc in 2016. So when he saw Gordon Hayward go down with a gruesome fractured ankle, Gronk empathized with the Celtics forward.
“There is definitely a big mental challenge, definitely with that,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s not just around your teammates and all of that. It’s outside of football, too, because it takes away your whole life from going down like that. You can’t do anything. You can’t walk. You’ve got to have people do it. You get really frustrated. You just want the people you love around you to help you out and get you in the best mindset throughout the whole process.”
The 28-year-old is confident that Hayward — who reportedly underwent surgery on Wednesday night — will “bounce back.”
“I wish him nothing but wellness. Hopefully, he heals as soon as possible,” Gronk said. “I can’t wait to see him back. I know he’s going to bounce back, but being here in Boston he’s going to be a hard worker I feel like and I can’t wait to watch him when he gets back.”
According to ESPN, Hayward’s agent Mark Bartelstein said that it’s unlikely the All-Star will return this season. As the forward begins to make his way through the rehabilitation process, Gronk’s advice is simple: “Dominate it.”
“Just go into rehab just like you go into anything else. Dominate it,” he said. “Come back when you feel ready and come back when you’re 100-percent. Just like anything else. He wouldn’t be where he is now if he wasn’t a hard worker.”
Rob Gronkowski talks about how his heart dropped when watching Gordon Hayward’s injury last night. pic.twitter.com/VpUa1oLXG4
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 18, 2017
Other Patriots also expressed their support for Hayward.
Tough times don’t last, tough people do @gordonhayward
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) October 18, 2017
“I never want to see a guy go down at the start of the season,” wide receiver Danny Amendola added. “I’ve been there before. I know how it feels. I know that as a city, and as a team here, we’re all happy to have him. And he’s a great player today. I’m excited for him to get back.”
“It’s just a crazy thing that happened. I feel for him,” fullback James Develin said. “It’s a tough thing to happen that early in the season, really any time.”