BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics will have to play at least one more game without star forward Jayson Tatum. Boston’s budding superstar will not travel with the team to Philadelphia for Wednesday’s game against the 76ers, head coach Brad Stevens announced after Tuesday’s practice.
But Stevens said that Tatum’s status for Friday’s game — also against the 76ers in Philadelphia — is TBD. So Tatum may not be far from returning from his bout with COVID-19.READ MORE: Woman Hit And Killed After Getting Out Of Friend's Car On I-93 In Medford
Tatum reportedly tested positive on Jan. 9 and has been away from the team since. The Celtics have gone 1-1 in Tatum’s absence, with three games postponed due to Boston’s COVID-19 issues.
The Celtics will have center Robert Williams back in the lineup for Wednesday night’s tilt, which should provide a nice boost to the Boston frontcourt as it prepares for two games against MVP frontrunner Joel Embiid. Williams practiced in full on Tuesday and said that he’s ready to return to action.
“I’m feeling great. Really just happy to be back out here with my guys,” Williams said Tuesday. “The tests had me down a bit with flu symptoms, but I’m here so I can’t complain.”
Williams said that he had some sleepless nights during his bout with COVID, but he was able to do some stretches at home during his quarantine to help stay in shape. He cleared a cardiac exam on Monday and was given the green light to return to practice Tuesday ahead of Boston’s two-game set with Philadelphia.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
Williams said that his young daughter and her mother, as well as Williams’ own mother, all tested positive recently, so his focus wasn’t always on his own health during his quarantine.
“I was more worried about them than I was myself, obviously,” said Williams. “They’re over it now. It’s gone. My daughter didn’t show any symptoms; still playing around and running around, but we had to keep an eye on her.”
The 76ers are dealing with their own COVID-19 issues at the moment, with Sunday’s game in Oklahoma City postponed when the 76ers didn’t have enough players to fill out an eight-man roster. There was some concern that Wednesday’s game may also get postponed, but Stevens said the Celtics were always under the assumption that the game would go on as scheduled.
“It sounds like that was a testing issue, so we always felt like we were paying this game. That was communicated to me via our front office, so I haven’t thought twice about that,” said Stevens.MORE NEWS: 'It's Panic': CareWell Urgent Care Patients Concerned 2nd Vaccine Doses Will Be Canceled
Wednesday night is the first matchup between the Atlantic Division foes. The Celtics are 8-4 and sit in first place in the Eastern Conference by mere percentage points over the Milwaukee Bucks and 76ers, both of whom are 9-5 on the season.