Team USA survived a scare Tuesday against Turkey in the group stage of the FIBA World Cup, thanks in large part to Jayson Tatum. However, the dramatic win ended with another scare for Celtics fans
Tatum reportedly sprained his left ankle following a transition drive and pass setting up Kris Middleton’s game-winning free throws in the final seconds of the 93-92 overtime victory. Replays showed the 21-year-old falling down after rolling his ankle in the crowded lane, before limping away on the baseline.
Khris Middleton’s free throws lift the United States over Turkey in the group stage of the FIBA Basketball World Cup! pic.twitter.com/eU5sAHlUwC
— ESPN (@espn) September 3, 2019
The Athletic’s Joe Vardon reported that Tatum was walking under his own power after the game and told reporters that he already felt better. Tatum also quickly texted Celtics coach Brad Stevens after the game to let him know the injury doesn’t appear to be serious, according to The Boston Globe‘s Gary Washburn.
“We’re hopeful it’s nothing major,” Stevens said.
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) September 3, 2019
Due to FIBA rules, Tatum was awarded an assist for his pass to Middleton, whose two free throws put Team USA up for good with 2.1 seconds left in the extra period.
One of four Celtics players on the team, Tatum was also fouled in the chaotic final seconds of regulation on a three-point attempt down 81-79 and sank two of his three free throws to force overtime. He finished with 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting, 11 rebounds, and three assists in just over 31 minutes.
After beating the Czech Republic in their opening game, the win Tuesday for Team USA clinched a bid to the second group stage of the tournament.