Jayson Tatum injury update: Celtics star says he was ‘shell of myself’ after first quarter play in Game 7 loss


It took just 26 seconds for the Celtics’ efforts to complete a comeback from down 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals to take a major blow.

Star forward Jayson Tatum took a pass from Al Horford and tried to challenge Miami’s Gabe Vincent in the paint. After trying to Euro step around Vincent and taking a contested jumper, Tatum rolled his ankle when he landed on Vincent’s foot. Tatum was clearly in pain after the play and attempted to fight through it, but he wasn’t up to his usual caliber in the team’s 103-84 loss to the Heat.

“I saw it after the game when I came down, my ankle and it’s tough because it kinda impacted me the rest of the night, swelled up,” Tatum said after the game. “It was just frustrating that I was kinda like a shell of myself. It’s tough to move. It was just frustrating, especially when that s— happen on the first play.”

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Tatum wound up playing 42 minutes in the game, but was certainly a “shell” of himself. He shot only 5-for-13 and scored 14 points with 11 rebounds. It was tied for the second-fewest points he’s scored this postseason and tied for the 12th-fewest points scored in his postseason career that has spanned 94 games.

The Celtics did little to pick up the production with their star player hobbled. The team shot a collective 39 percent from the field and 21.4 percent (9 for 42) from 3, marking Boston’s second-worst 3-point shooting performance in the 2022-23 campaign.

“[Tatum] took a fall early. He hurt his ankle really bad early, and he could’ve come out the game,” said teammate Marcus Smart. “He stayed in, he tried to fight and obviously you can see he wasn’t himself, he wasn’t as explosive. The ankle was really killing him. He tried to fight, it just didn’t go in his favor. It didn’t go in any of our favors. We continued just to fight and help him and try to get through.

“Certain things you can’t control and getting hurt like that is nothing you can control. It just happened at the wrong time.”

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Tatum has rarely dealt with injuries during his stellar NBA career to date. Since entering the league in the 2017-18 season, only DeMar DeRozan, Harrison Barnes and Tobias Harris have logged more minutes than Tatum’s 14,916, not counting the playoffs, per Stathead. Tatum has led all players in playoff minutes with 3,593.

“I don’t want nobody to feel bad for me,” he said. “Unfortunately injuries are part of this game. And I’ve been fortunate enough up until this point I’ve never missed games, I’ve played 95% of the games since I’ve been in the league. It just was unfortunate to fall tonight on the first play of the game and something I was trying to battle through throughout the game.”

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