Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum was ruled out of a United States men’s basketball team exhibition matchup against Argentina and could miss Friday’s tilt against Australia.
Tatum, who’s still considered day-to-day, is dealing with right knee soreness.
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Jayson Tatum Ruled Out
After joining the Select Team in Las Vegas, Jayson was off to a productive start. He scored 17 points and pulled down a team-high 7 rebounds in a losing effort against Nigeria (90-87).
However, Tatum also spent time with his new head coach; Ime Udoka — which now, in the wake of his precautionary night off, puts things into perspective.
Jayson Tatum is ‘Extremely Happy About Ime’
Tatum spoke to Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn about Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens’ decision to hire Udoka.
“I think it was big,” Tatum said, per The Boston Globe. “I think all of the candidates and finalists would have been great decisions. Extremely happy about Ime. I’ve known him for a little while. He’s extremely motivated and I think everybody has a good feeling about this. I think this is going to be great.”
If Tatum’s sore right knee elevates to a legitimate concern, we’ll most likely see the two-time All-Star shut things down before preparing for the upcoming 2021-22 regular season. He knows getting off to a good start will be important, especially as the franchise’s cornerstone amidst a changing of the guard.
“That’s the position I’m in now,” he said, per The Boston Globe. “I’ve got to embrace it because I’m invested and I’m a part of all of this [I embrace] just having my hands on. I got a feel for things going on with the team and the organization and I think it’s only right.”
Team USA bounced back from its back-to-back losses to Nigeria and Australia, respectfully, by topping Argentina, 108-80, Tuesday.
“I thought we sustained our [stamina] pretty well,” Tatum USA coach Gregg Popovich said Tuesday, via ESPN. “Against Australia we competed well, rebounded, played defense, ran the floor and had good pace for a half and then it dissipated for a half. Tonight, we maintained that pretty much throughout the game. Hopefully that’s a sign we’re getting better.”
Jayson Tatum Considered Day-To-Day
Team USA will look to avenge its loss to Australia with or without Tatum, this Friday, as its search for continuity continues; evening the score would improve its exhibition record to an even, 2-2. Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal emphasized how important that will be, especially against the better-polished international competition.
“Our biggest thing is we have to realize it’s not the NBA and coach Pop keeps re-emphasizing that every single day,” Beal said, per NBA.com. “It’s way more physical. Guys are smarter. These guys have been playing together for five, 10+ years. So they have the experience and the chemistry and we’re trying to develop that in a short period of time.”