While star Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum usually stars each season gradually building up his level of intensity, the 2021-22 campaign and subsequent 2022 NBA Playoffs were the first instances in his career that he seemed to fall apart a bit at the end of the campaign as well.
Some of that was just the sheer amount of high-level basketball the St. Louis native had been playing, with Tatum on the court almost without a break since the league started back up in 2020 after a four-month pause due to the pandemic. But in a recent interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, the Celtics star shared he had also been playing injured since the weekend of the NFL’s Super Bowl LVI.
“I remember driving back to the house, and I had my watch on in the car,” recalled Tatum. “I kept looking at my wrist because it’s like something is weighing on it.”
“Long story short, my wrist was really really bothering me,” he added. “I started taping my wrist; I had a pad on and I started taping my wrist.”
“My trainer, Nick (Sang), who is becoming famous by the day, we talked about getting it looked at before the All-Star break. And I was like, ‘Fine, that’s cool’. But as the All-Star break approached, I got nervous to get it looked at because I knew how much pain I was in. I couldn’t really push my wrist back; at home, I couldn’t hold a plate or cup. So after this game, I was wearing a brace to keep it stable — I had to sleep in it. But I was nervous to go get it checked out because I never want somebody to tell me I can’t play.”
“If anybody knows me, (like) my teammates, I never want to miss a game,” Tatum shared.
“I’ve tried to play every game of every season that I can” continued the Duke product. “I hate coming out. I hate getting subbed out. I hate missing (time), so I push it to the side.”
“I didn’t go get it checked out before All-Star break. Fast forward to right before the playoffs during the play-in game. We had six or seven days off. And Nick was like, ‘Yo, we’ve got to get it looked at’. I’m like, ‘Alright, that’s cool. But it’s the playoffs; I don’t care what they say, I’m playing’. Come to find out — this was eight weeks later — it showed that I had a nondisplaced fracture in my wrist, and it was small but it was still a nondisplaced chip.”
“So, I chipped a bone but it didn’t leave the surface, but it has shown that the bone had grown over it, so it had healed, but I was still in pain because I kept getting hit or falling on it,” revealed Tatum.
“I played with like somewhat of a fracture for like two months,” said the St. Louis native. “And then in the playoffs, there was a play against (the) Milwaukee (Bucks) in Game Three.”
“I dunked it, Giannis chased me down, and he fouled me and I fell into to the crowd, and that was the most painful it’s been since that day that I hurt it.”
“I ended up getting a cortisone shot in my wrist that night and you can see the color in my hand because it kills the fat cells,” he shared. “I’ve lost color right there.”
“After each game, I would have to wear a brace, (and) to shoot around” noted Tatum. “I would take it off before the camera saw me then pregame taking my nap, and I had to put it back on, just to make sure it was stable.”
The Duke product explained how he avoided getting an MRI despite the brace out of concern he might be told he can’t play. “Everybody’s a little banged up” by that part of the league calendar, he reasoned.
And while it wasn’t his dominant hand, any time he hit or fell on it, he felt excruciating pain.
“Oftentimes, if you pay attention closely, I’m like shaking my head or I’m at the free throw line, trying to calm it down, and that would be every game,” Tatum suggested.
Thankfully, the wrist is no longer an issue for the Duke product. “It’s all good,” he said. “I’m taking time off to heal properly and not get reaggravated.”
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Source: Yahoo Sports