Jayson Tatum needed just two words to add optimism to his current situation: “felt good.”
The Boston Celtics and U.S. men’s national basketball team forward addressed his ankle injury Monday, telling reporters eyeing an imminent return to action. Tatum practiced Monday for the first time since he sprained his left ankle last week during Team USA’s win over Turkey in the FIBA World Cup. Although he didn’t confirm a timetable for his return to the lineup, he offered the aforementioned quote after practice and said he hopes to suit up Wednesday for the U.S. versus France World Cup quarterfinal game.
“I hope I can play,” Tatum said, per the Associated Press. “There’s no timetable or anything. I’m just trying to get back right.”
Tatum’s desire to play Wednesday all but assures he avoided major injury last Tuesday when he suffered the injury. U.S. trainers opted to approach his recovery cautiously, immediately ruling him out for five days — during which Team USA beat Japan and Greece — before re-evaluating him this week.
“When it first happened I was upset,” Tatum said. “I didn’t want to miss any games. But it’s nothing significant.”
Now Tatum, who started Team USA’s first two World Cup games and averaged 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes, appears to be on the brink of returning for the final one, two or three games of the tournament.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images