Gordon Hayward was elated to put "dark memories and dark times" behind him and make his first appearance in over a year as the Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers.
A gruesome ankle injury in the 2017-18 opener ruled Hayward out for the remainder of the campaign, but he played 24 minutes as the Celtics started the new season with a 105-87 win at TD Garden.
Video footage of the All-Star going through his recovery over the past 12 months was played on the big screen in the arena prior to tip-off.
Hayward – who posted 10 points, five rebounds and four steals against the Sixers – admitted it made him recall some unpleasant moments, but they did not linger for long once the game got underway.
"It brought back a lot of memories, a lot of dark memories and dark times, but to be honest it was cool to see some of the progression," said Hayward.
"It was amazing to be out there on the court again for a regular-season game. My adrenaline was definitely pumping those first three or four minutes. I think everybody's adrenaline was pumping, because it was sloppy at first, but it was great just to be out there.
"That was a big step for me mentally. It was a big confidence booster just to finish that first game. Being back out on the court – that was a big hurdle.
"[The injury] definitely crossed my mind … just tried to get that out of my head as soon as I started playing and as soon as you're out on the court some of that disappears.
"There's definitely still a long way to go for me to be where I want to be at, but it was a great first step and a great team victory."
Brad Stevens confirmed Hayward would be on a minutes restriction to start the season and the forward knows it will take time for him to rediscover his previous level.
"It's just part of it. Part of it is just having patience and knowing that it's not all going to come at once," he said.
"I think as long as I can do things when I'm out there on the court that can help us get wins, I'll be happy."
|Lowry retains Abu Dhabi lead|
|Djokovic battles past Tsonga, young guns flourish|
|Louisville airport to be renamed in Muhammad Ali´s honour|
|Emery not thinking about Ozil speculation|
|Sri Lanka hopeful over Kusal Mendis finger injury|
|Oman 3 Turkmenistan 1: Last-gasp Al-Musallami guarantees progression|
|Emery wants Cech to end career ´in a good moment´|
|Japan 2 Uzbekistan 1: Shiotani stunner seals comeback and top spot|
|Calhanoglu deal ´financially impossible´ for Leipzig|
|Not seen at Aus Open since Nadal, Djokovic and Murray in 2009 – ´Next Gen´ make move|
|Martial: Solskjaer lets me express myself|
|Djokovic sees off Tsonga to reach third round|
|Returning Cousins calls Warriors ´the most hated team in sports´|
|Halep injury ´nothing dangerous´|
|Warner picks up elbow injury in Bangladesh|
|Mkhitaryan returning to Arsenal training next week|
|Leeds United pounce for Real Madrid goalkeeper Casilla|
|Watson lights up Gabba before power cut forces abandonment|
|Superb Serena blows Bouchard away|
|Tevez, Hulk, Oscar, Lavezzi - how the CSL stars Dembele is following to China fared|
|Thiem retires from Australian Open|
|Osaka ´not telling´ when it comes to injury niggle|
|Fabinho enjoying Klopp´s management style|
|Halep battles past Kenin in Melbourne|
|Hartley to miss England´s Six Nations opener|
|Dembele departs Spurs for Guangzhou R&F|
|Nacho convinced Isco remains important to Real Madrid|
|Warriors star Curry sets NBA record|
|Raonic survives four-hour marathon against Wawrinka|
|Osaka powers through to Aus Open third round|
|Irving dominates in Celtics´ win over Raptors|
|Irving called LeBron this week to apologise|
|Ajax star De Jong wants to resolve future ´quickly´|
|Payton on Rams CB Peters: I have great respect for him|
|Rockets star Harden matches Chamberlain with historic performances|
|Nishikori survives Karlovic test in Melbourne|
|Vieira reunion felt really weird - Henry|
|´#BetAgainstUs´ - Edelman and Pats embracing underdog status|
|Van der Vaart: Isco the best player in the world|
|I haven´t seen Guardiola or Klopp do that – Lampard unhappy with Bielsa|
|Real Madrid always play to win, insists Casemiro|
|Royals pitcher Skoglund suspended for 80 games after testing positive for PEDs|
|Ronaldo and Juve celebrate Supercoppa Italiana title with Mayweather|
|We are not going to talk about Morata - Simeone reluctant to discuss striker|
|Madrid weak in Leganes loss, says Solari|
|Bologna and Banvit seal Champions League play-off spots|
|LeBron James to miss Thunder & Rockets games but nearing practice return|
|Leganes 1 Real Madrid 0 (1-3 agg): Isco starts as Solari´s side go through despite defeat|
|NFL playoffs 2019: X-factor for each NFC team|
|Mahomes: Chiefs must not repeat mistakes against Patriots|
|Higuain´s Supercoppa benching due to virus, says Milan boss Gattuso|
|Brown fires back at Arians over ´diva´ comments|
|Stone heading home from West Indies tour with back injury|
|Shazier will continue rehab with intention of playing again|
|That´s why we signed him! Allegri hails Supercoppa match-winner Ronaldo|
|Monaco on worst home run in club´s history after Nice draw|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Girona 3 (4-4 agg): Simeone´s side out on away goals|
|Gregg Williams is Jets´ new defensive coordinator|
|Ronaldo: Supercoppa triumph just the start for Juve|
|Monaco confirm Batshuayi talks|
|You know more than me! Bielsa´s Barcelona research surprised Guardiola|
|Juventus 1 AC Milan 0: Ronaldo heads Bianconeri to Supercoppa glory|
|Kane injury cannot be excuse for Tottenham – Pochettino|
|Woods to open 2019 schedule at Torrey Pines|
|Reported Liverpool target Dabbur to undergo Sevilla medical|
|Lebanon v North Korea: Radulovic calls on players to make history|
|MLS MVP Martinez signs five-year contract with Atlanta|
|WBC set deadline for Wilder-Fury rematch|
|Iran 0 Iraq 0: Team Melli top Group D after dull draw|
|Vietnam 2 Yemen 0: Quang Hai shines to give Golden Dragons hope|