3:32pm: Tatum has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, though he is asymptomatic at present, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets. Tatum took a confirmatory test and is currently awaiting that result.
12:11pm: Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum will miss at least 10-to-14 days as a result of the league’s coronavirus-related health and safety protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
It’s unclear for the time being whether the 6’8″ All-Star has recorded a positive coronavirus test, has been exposed to someone who later tested positive, or violated COVID-19 protocols. The league and teams have not been making that information public.
The former Duke standout, 22, is averaging a career-high 26.9 PPG (making him Boston’s leading scorer), 7.1 RPG and 3.8 APG, plus 1.0 SPG and 0.8 BPG. He is also shooting a stellar .474/.438/.889. This is a major blow for the Celtics.
Tatum will become the fourth Boston player currently quarantining as a result of COVID-19 protocols, along with reserve power forward Robert Williams, who has reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Bench power forward Grant Williams and starting power forward/center Tristan Thompson also have to quarantine for at least seven days due to potential exposure, as they were sitting alongside Robert Williams on the Celtics bench for more than 15 minutes prior to his positive test. Guards Kemba Walker (knee) and Romeo Langford (wrist) remain absent due to long-term injuries.
Tatum will miss at least five games. His absence means that the Celtics will lean even more heavily on fellow star forward Jaylen Brown. The 6’6″ wing, a terrific player on both sides of the floor, has had a breakout season thus far, averaging a career-high 26.3 PPG, 3.5 APG and 1.7 SPG on a career-best .539/.421/.767 shooting line. He is also pulling down 6.2 RPG.
Semi Ojeleye and Marcus Smart may also get more touches with Tatum’s offensive output unavailable for the immediate future. 7’5″ center Tacko Fall had a solid game yesterday in the stead of the absent big men, grabbing eight boards in 19 minutes.