Celtics look to manage Jayson Tatum’s wrist pain

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Tatum admitted a week ago that there were “a lot [expletive] continues” with his left hand and wrist, though he joked that he would fight Brad Stevens about missing games.

Joe Mazzulla asked Jayson Tatum on Thursday during the Celtics’ win over the Warriors if he wanted to leave, knowing he wouldn’t be gone after all. AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez

Jayson Tatum is taking the day off on Saturday.

The Celtics star will not play in their game against the Raptors due to left wrist pain. It also comes two days after Tatum played every minute from the start of the second quarter to the final buzzer in the Celtics’ victory over the Warriors in overtime.

Acting Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said Tatum’s day off Saturday was all about “managing” his wrist.

Despite wrist pain and heavy use, Tatum is pretty determined to play (he’s played 44 of the Celtics’ first 46 games, playing the league’s fourth-most minutes this season). After Thursday’s game, Tatum said that minutes into the fourth quarter, Mazzulla asked him if he wanted a break, saying that when asked if he wanted to be taken out of the game, he would say no. .

Mazzulla also has a good idea that his team’s top scorer doesn’t want to leave the games.

“I mean, you ask the question to start a conversation and that’s what it’s really about,” said Mazzulla ahead of Saturday’s game. “It’s more of a dialogue and making sure we’re on the same wavelength, seeing how he feels.

“Even though I asked the question, I wasn’t about to knock it out — he didn’t know that.”

Mazzulla did not regret playing Tatum as long as he did, playing 48 of a possible 53 minutes.

“I thought his efforts didn’t falter,” said Mazzulla. “I thought he gave us really good energy without it [a break]so I went with that instinct.

It is the second time in less than 10 days that the question of how to deal with Tatum’s minutes has arisen. After the Celtics’ victory over the Nets on January 12, Tatum said he “had a lot [expletive] continue” with his left hand and wrist, but he doesn’t want to lose playing time for it.

“It’s something that I and [Celtics president of basketball operations] Brad [Stevens] go fight,” Tatum joked.

Considered one of the MVP favorites this season, Tatum scored 31.2 points per game (ranked third in the league) while adding a record 8.5 rebounds per game and 4.3 assists per game. . Tatum’s play ensured that Boston had the best record in the league. At 34-12, the Celtics are 4.5 games ahead of the Bucks for first place in the Eastern Conference heading into Saturday’s games.


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