Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is playing like a top-five player and an MVP candidate over the first couple weeks of the 2022-23 NBA season, and he's doing it with a left wrist that's less than 100 percent healthy.
It's the same wrist that bothered him at times last season.
"Same wrist, same hand, something a little different that we’re just managing at this moment,” Tatum told reporters after the Celtics beat the Detroit Pistons 128-112 at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
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"Nothing that I gotta have surgery, but something that’s bothering me. But just tape it up and go out there and continue to play."
Tatum played through a fracture in the same wrist during the 2022 playoffs. His current issue is not alarming, just something to monitor going forward.
Even with a wrist that's not fully healthy, Tatum is on pace to set career highs in several stats, including his 31.2 points per game average, which ranks sixth in the league. He scored 31 points in 32 minutes in Wednesday's victory, including an impressive 16 points over a five-minute span to begin the third quarter.
The Celtics are 8-3 to begin the season, which puts them in a tie with the Cleveland Cavaliers for second place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Playoff seeding is important, but a healthy roster is more critical to the pursuit of Banner 18. The Celtics should give Tatum any rest he might need throughout the regular season so he's as healthy as possible entering the playoffs.