ORLANDO — Jayson Tatum succumbed to lingering discomfort and took a rest night due to left wrist and multiple budding finger injuries on the same hand. The ailments don’t limit him on the floor and a glove’s worth of tape across his hand stabilize the injuries each night. He doesn’t foresee missing significant time with it.
“It’s kind of just talking with Nick (Sang) about how my body was feeling,” Tatum told CLNS Media. “Those 50 minutes the other night didn’t necessarily help, and a couple of falls on my wrist, but I think the extra day off helped me out a lot.”
Tatum didn’t confirm whether or not his wrist, which he revealed last year suffered a partial fracture during the postseason, will need surgery. It’s possible next summer, but he didn’t want to confirm or deny the best treatment before he and the team decide one. For now, rest and management will help him get by day-to-day.
Sang, one the Celtics’ athletic trainers, tapes Tatum’s ring and thumb fingers between and during each game. A fan caught Tatum wincing during the win at Brooklyn earlier this month as Sang applied treatment, with the tape seemingly piling higher each week. Tatum joked after that game it’ll probably require a conversation with Brad Stevens to make him sit out.
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“(We’re) just finding different ways to make sure it’s secure, but flexible where I can still do what I need to do,” Tatum told CLNS.
The Celtics proved they could win without Tatum, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III and Derrick White late in Toronto by pulling away late from a team that built an early 11-point lead on Boston. Payton Pritchard, Grant Williams and Malcolm Brogdon shined, and Al Horford held down the paint defensively in Williams III’s absence. Performances like those and a growing 4.5 game lead in the east likely provide inspiration to the team that their stars can rest in the second half of the season without sacrificing wins.
Smart (ankle) and Brogdon (personal) are out tonight. Williams III will likely to sit the front end and Horford the back end of the back-to-back between Orlando and Miami on Monday and Tuesday. Joe Mazzulla said Williams III’s hyperextended left knee isn’t considered serious, and the second half was precautionary. He previously confirmed Williams III won’t play back-to-backs this year.
“I don’t normally miss too many games, so watching it feels weird,” Tatum said. “It was a big win. Obviously, with myself and Rob and Smart being out for most of the game, just figuring it out. Grant played big. Malcolm played big. Payton made some big shots late. We’ve had two really big games these last two in terms of figuring it out, and that’s pretty satisfying.”