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Jayson Tatum revealed he played through a non-displaced fracture during the 2022 NBA postseason
The Boston Celtics couldn’t bring championship number 18 home, but Jayson Tatum did everything he could to try to make it happen in the 2022 playoffs.
The star went head-to-head with the modern NBA’s greatest dynasty in the Golden State Warriors through the 2022 volume of the NBA Finals. He scored 25.6 points per game in the postseason, shooting nearly 40% from beyond the arc. Add to the list: A fractured hand that he played through.
No one knew about it, but Tatum had a non-displaced fracture in his wrist.
Jayson Tatum hand injury was hidden by Celtics in 2022 playoff run
Speaking to Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report, Tatum revealed the extent of an injury that was previously undisclosed to anyone outside the Celtics.
“It healed. But it was still pain, I was still in pain because I kept getting hit, or falling on it. So, like, I guess I played with like somewhat of a fracture for like two months. And then in the playoffs there was a play against Milwaukee in Game 3. I dunked it, Giannis chased me down and fouled me. I fell into, like the crowd. And that was the most painful it’s been since that day that I hurt it.”
Tatum went on to tell Rooks he got a cortisone shot the night of the Bucks incident. He also revealed that he went through somewhat extensive lengths to hide the extent of the injury, wearing an arm brace essentially anytime cameras weren’t around.
The explanation helps explain one of Tatum’s worst performances of the playoff run. In that Game 3 against the Bucks, he scored just 10 points on 4-of-19 shooting, his second-worst shooting efficiency night of the playoffs. Boston lost that game by 2 points, going down 2-1 in the series that they would eventually win in a full 7 games.
After the cortisone shot, he came back the next game with a 30-point performance.
After losing the Finals in six games, Tatum and the Celtics are determined to get back. In the same interview with Rooks, Tatum spoke about a deep deal of grief he experienced after losing.
“I was miserable. I really really was. And it took some time to kind of get out of that funk and just kind of enjoy my life,” Tatum said to Rooks. “It’s just tough. You know, because I feel like sometimes I come off so laid back that I don’t know if people understand how much I invest into this game, how much I care, how hard I work. ‘Cause I’m not like the loudest or may [not] show everything. But it was just so tough because I literally gave everything I had. And you know, to feel like I ran out, that I didn’t have anything left to give. And we were so close. You know, really, didn’t have an appetite, didn’t want to talk to anybody, didn’t want to go anywhere. I was just in my house for like three, four days straight.”
It’s a humanizing admission for Tatum, and it’s difficult to deny that he gave everything knowing the injury he played through now. For fans, it’s a reminder that the path to an NBA Finals is harder than we can imagine.
Celtics fans should be thrilled knowing they get to watch Tatum try to lead his team back to the Finals again. Knowing he took the loss so hard is an indicator he’ll be even more motivated to get back and hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in future seasons.