Watch CBS News

Jayson Tatum reveals he played with fractured wrist during Celtics' playoff run

BOSTON -- Jayson Tatum was clearly hampered by something during Boston's playoff run, with all signs pointing to a shoulder injury. But over the weekend, the Celtics star revealed that it was actually a wrist injury that slowed him during the postseason, an injury that he hid from anyone not involved with the team.

In an interview with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report, Tatum revealed that he had a non-displaced fracture in his wrist, which he initially suffered in February. He was set to have the wrist looked at during the All-Star break, but didn't want to miss time and decided to play through the pain.

He finally got imaging done ahead of the playoffs, which revealed the fracture. The bone had healed over the months, but it was still painful. Then Tatum received a cortisone shot after it was re-injured during the second round against the Milwaukee Bucks.

"It was small, but it was still like a non-displaced chip," explained Tatum. "So like I chipped a bone but it didn't leave the surface. But it had shown that the bone had grew over it so it healed, but I was still in pain because I kept getting hit or falling on it. So I guess I played with like somewhat of a fracture for like two months.

"Then in the playoffs, there was a play against Milwaukee in Game 3. I dunked it, Giannis chased me down and fouled me and I fell into like the crowd," he remembered. "That was the most painful it's been since that day that I hurt it. I ended up getting a cortisone shot in my wrist that night and you could see it."

Here's the play that Tatum re-hurt the wrist during the playoffs:

Tatum had to wear a brace because of the injury, but he never wore it in public to avoid questions about his wrist. 

"After each game I would have to wear a brace to shoot around and I would take it off before the cameras saw me," he said. "Pregame, taking my nap I would put it back on."

Tatum struggled in Boston's Game 4 loss to the Bucks, scoring only 10 points off 4-for-19 shooting, but he finished the series strong. He had an incredible performance in Game 6 in Milwaukee, scoring 46 points to force a deciding Game 7. Tatum scored 23 points in Boston's Game 7 win, hitting seven of his 14 shots from the floor.

He suffered a stinger in his shoulder in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, an injury that most believed was responsible for Tatum's struggles in the NBA Finals against the Warriors. Tatum averaged just 21.5 points off 36.7 percent shooting in Boston's six-game series loss to the Warriors.

He wouldn't blame the shoulder for his struggles, and refused to blame his wrist injury as well. But playing with a fractured wrist would explain why Tatum had some serious issues with both his shot and his handle to close the Celtics' playoff run. 

At least Tatum should be back to 100 percent for the 2022-23 season, with the Celtics among the favorites to win it all.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.