Celtics’ Jayson Tatum battles through aftereffects of COVID-19



The aftereffects of COVID-19 can be long lasting in some cases as one NBA star can attest.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum said Tuesday before Boston’s 112-99 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets that he is still dealing with the aftereffects of COVID-19 more than a month after he initially tested positive for the virus.

“I think it messes with your breathing a little bit,” the 22-year-old Tatum said before scoring 21 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds to help lead the 14-13 Celtics over the .500 mark. “I have experienced some games where, I don’t want to say [I was] struggling to breathe, but, you know, you get fatigued a lot quicker than normal.”

Tatum told reporters his breathing issues aren’t consistently affecting his play and that he’s feeling better each game, but that it still pops up from “time to time.”

“Just running up and down the court a few times, it’s easier to get out of breath or tired a lot faster,” Tatum said. “I’ve noticed that since I’ve had COVID. It’s just something I’m working on.”

Tatum, who tested positive for COVID-19 in early January, missed five games because of the virus, not including the full week the Celtics were paused because they didn’t have enough players available to play.

Jayson Tatum drives past Jamal Murray during the Celtics' 112-99 win over the Nuggets.
Jayson Tatum drives past Jamal Murray during the Celtics’ 112-99 win over the Nuggets.
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Despite contracting the virus, Tatum — who returned to the lineup on Jan. 25 in Chicago — has had a strong season for the Celtics, averaging 25.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 22 games this season.

But, according to ESPN, Tatum’s numbers have dipped since his return from the virus. Before Tatum was forced to sit out, he averaged 26.9 points per game in his first 10 games, but in the 12 games since his return, he’s averaging just 24.2 points per contest.

Though Tatum still is battling the aftereffects of the virus, his minutes actually have increased slightly from 34.6 to 35.7 minutes per game. He’s averaging 35.2 minutes per game, a career-high.

Tatum said he has been in continual consultation with Celtics coach Brad Steven regarding his health, calling it a “long process.”

“It’s something that we’ve talked about,” Tatum said. “And it’s not like every game where I feel it the whole game. It’s just certain stretches where breathing is a little out of whack, and I talk to the medical staff and coaching staff about it. It’s gotten better, obviously, from the first game I came back and played.

“I’ve talked to other guys that have had it, and they say they experienced the same thing, and it kind of just gets better over time. But as much as we play, I guess it takes a little bit longer.”


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