Jayson Tatum says he's still feeling COVID-19 after-effects: 'It messes with your breathing'

Jack Baer
·3 min read

It's been more than a month since Jayson Tatum was quarantined in accordance with the NBA's COVID-19 protocols and three weeks since he returned. He says he is still feeling the effects of the virus.

The Boston Celtics star told reporters on Tuesday that he has continued to struggle with the respiratory side of COVID-19, saying it is impeding his breathing and increasing his fatigue during games:

"I think it messes with your breathing a little bit. I have experienced some games where, I don't want to say 'struggling to breathe,' but, you know, you get fatigued a lot quicker than normal.

"Just running up and down the court a few times, it's easier to get out of breath or tired a lot faster. I've noticed that since I've had COVID. It's just something I'm working on. It's gotten better since the first game I played, but I still deal with it from time to time."

Tatum, a rising star in the middle of a career year, returned to the Celtics on Jan. 25.

Jayson Tatum stretches his arms behind his head with a ball in his hand during warmups.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum said he is still feeling the effects of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Jayson Tatum's numbers have suffered since COVID-19 return, but not by much

Before testing positive for the virus, Tatum had been averaging 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 34.6 minutes per game. Since returning, he has been averaging 24.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 36.0 minutes per game.

While Tatum's minutes have actually increased, his shooting has suffered, going from shooting 47.4% from the field and 43.8% from deep to 42.7% and 36.9%.

Tatum and the Celtics are 4-8 during the latter span, and by far the most concerning loss came in the team's last game. Facing the Washington Wizards, who were 6-17 at the time, Tatum scored only six points on 3-of-14 shooting in an ugly 104-91 loss.

Per ESPN, Tatum said he has spoken with Celtics head coach Brad Stevens about his issues, which apparently come and go as the Celtics play through their schedule.

"It's something that we've talked about," Tatum said, via ESPN. "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 guess it's just a long process. 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."

The road doesn't get much easier for the Celtics in the short term. The team has back-to-back games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday and doesn't have more than one day off in a row for the rest of its first-half schedule.

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