BOSTON (CBS) — Jayson Tatum played just 21 minutes in Tuesday night’s 103-108 Celtics loss to the Nets, leaving early in the third quarter after getting poked in the eye by Brooklyn forward Kevin Durant.
Tatum appeared to take Durant’s thumb to his eye as the two battled for the ball under Boston’s basket after the Celtics star missed a layup. Tatum immediately went to the locker room after the injury, and though he returned to the Boston bench, he did not re-enter the game.
Jayson Tatum goes down on this play and then headed back to the locker room for further evaluation pic.twitter.com/kKvIjsRpja
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 26, 2021
Tatum spent the rest of the evening shielding his eye on the Boston bench, and after the game, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said that Tatum was “really struggling” as he tried to adjust to the lighting at the Barclays Center. Tatum’s status for Game 3 in Boston on Friday night remains unknown.
“He got scratched pretty good. It looks pretty red,” Stevens said after the blowout defeat. “It looks pretty swollen to me. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what the exact diagnosis is, but obviously he’s uncomfortable right now.”
Celtics guard Marcus Smart had a much more promising update on Tatum after the loss.
“It was serious, but I don’t think it’s as serious as people thought,” said Smart, adding that Tatum was in “good spirits” after the game.
Tatum played just 21 minutes on Tuesday night, finishing with nine points on 3-for-12 shooting. He has a few days to improve with Game 3 set for Friday night in Boston.