Celtics’ Jayson Tatum expected to return from COVID-19 absence vs. Chicago Bulls

Tatum tested positive in early January.

Jayson Tatum could return on Monday vs. Chicago.
Jayson Tatum could return on Monday vs. Chicago. –Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is expected to rejoin the lineup against the Chicago Bulls on Monday, according to Brad Stevens.

“Worked out each of the last couple days, worked out really hard yesterday, actually got some up and down in with guys that didn’t play and coaches,” Stevens said. “I anticipate he’ll play tomorrow.”

Tatum tested positive for COVID-19 in early January, and contact tracing related to Tatum’s test forced the Celtics to postpone three games. The Celtics’ quarantined players aside from Tatum all returned without incident, and Robert Williams — the other player on the roster to test positive — rejoined the lineup prior to Boston’s two-game series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Last week, Stevens was asked about ramping up players from COVID protocols.

“Obviously, the cardiac screening has to be done before you can enter the gym and before you can do anything,” he said. And obviously, as a coach, that’s all I can really think about. I would never want to put somebody out there who hasn’t gone through that. And then the part that the minutes restrictions is decided by, once they’re cleared, with the cardiac stuff, is just how many minutes were they playing prior to, what was their activity level in the 14 days, which is usually completely none, and then you’re just trying to balance getting ramped up in a game scenario with the idea of preventing muscular injury. It’s more about that than it is anything else, because they haven’t done anything. You know, hamstrings and, you know, obviously, we want to be very very careful as guys come back into play.”

Williams, who had symptoms, said the quarantined players stayed in touch to keep each others’ spirits up.

“We were all checking in on each other every day within the group text message, just telling people to stay safe, stay healthy, check in on people’s family members,” Williams said last week. “It’s a lot of team effort put into that which I thank my teammates for checking in on me too, obviously, because it was a tough time.”

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