Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has been publically open about his battle with COVID-19 after testing positive for the virus back on January 9th. For instance, the 23-year-old has previously alluded to struggles with catching his breath following the initial diagnosis.
Now, three months after his positive test, Tatum has revealed that he’s begun taking additional precautions to better help combat the ill effects.
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Tatum Has Begun Using an Inhaler Pre-Game
After yet another brilliant game where Tatum dropped a team-high 32 points, including a three-point dagger to help clinch the C’s victory over Portland, the All-Star forward disclosed he’s begun to introduce an inhaler in his pre-game ritual as a better way to help alleviate some of the complications he’s run into following his positive test.
“It’s a process. It takes a long time,” Tatum told reporters following the Celtics’ fourth consecutive win. “I take an inhaler before the game since I’ve tested positive. This has kind of helped with that and opened up my lungs, and, you know, I never took an inhaler before. So that’s something different.”
Back on March 5th, nearly two months from testing positive, Tatum detailed the complications he was having breathing.
“I’ve talked to guys that said it took months for them to kind of catch their breath, and get their wind back. And I think I’m kind of on the same track with that,” Tatum told reporters. “I for sure feel better. I don’t feel necessarily the same before I got it when I was playing. I definitely know there’s a difference. But I feel pretty good.“
Tatum Says He’s ‘Very Close’ to 100%
The good news is, it appears that a combination of time and his additional tactics have better helped Tatum combat his struggles, allowing the Missouri native to slowly creep back up to his normal self.
When asked on Tuesday whether he feels as if he’s back to 100%, Tatum noted that “It’s a process — It takes a long time,” but that he is “very close.”
We’d certainly say so. Tatum is coming off a week where he took home Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors and has now averaged 29.4 points per game over his last 10 contests — including a career-high 53 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves this past Friday.
As for when Tatum may scratch the inhaler, he’s not quite sure.
“There’s no exact timetable,” Tatum said. “[It’s] just when I feel comfortable enough and I think I don’t need it.”
No team in the NBA has been struck by the pandemic as hard as the Celtics, as Boston.com notes that Boston has endured more COVID-related absences than any other team this season. Tatum pointed to this as part of the reason the Celtics have struggled to live up to expectations thus far this year.
“I don’t think our record shows what kind of team that we are,” Tatum said. “I think even though it’s been a weird year, obviously we’ve dealt with some, excuse me, a bunch of things obviously. Stuff, a lot of guys tested positive, certain guys have been injured. But you know right now for the most part, we’re missing Evan (Fournier). But most of the guys, they’re healthy. I just like the way that we’re playing. Every game is important right now, and we know it’s kind of coming down to the stretch.”