Jayson Tatum said he's still not 100 percent after a bout with COVID-19 in January. The Boston Celtics forward is using an inhaler before games as he continues to deal with the aftereffects of the virus.
Tatum made a game-winning 3-pointer with 8.5 seconds to go in leading the Celtics over the Portland Trail Blazers, 116-115, on Tuesday night. He scored 32 points with nine rebounds and five assists and mentioned his and his teammates' bouts with COVID over the past few months.
Tatum using inhaler for games after COVID
ESPN's Rachel Nichols asked if he felt back to 100 percent after testing positive on Jan. 9.
Tatum, 23, said he was "very close."
"It's a process. It takes a long time. I take an inhaler before a game since I tested positive. This has kind of helped with that and opened up my lungs. I never took an inhaler before.
"I for sure feel better now than I did a month ago."
He missed nearly three weeks after testing positive, returning Jan. 26 but struggling to regain his breath in those first few games. Tatum said he'll keep using the inhaler until he feels he's "comfortable and don't think I need it," per CBS Boston.
Tatum still experiencing COVID-19 aftereffects
In previous postgame availabilities and interviews, Tatum has spoken openly about the COVID-19 effects and his recovery. In February he said his energy level ebbs and flows and he fatigues quicker than normal.
Last month he told Sporting News there have been "steady improvements" and his conditioning is getting better. It's similar to what other athletes who tested positive have dealt with, he said.
Tatum is slowly getting back to form, scoring a career-best 53 points on Friday night in Boston's overtime win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Celtics are in their best stretch of the season.
His struggles with COVID-19 months after testing positive are another reminder that the long-term effects of contracting the virus are still largely unknown. And they can be severe.
A small percentage of those who test positive become what's known as "long haulers" in that they still show signs of the virus after recovery. New York Liberty guard Asia Durr is considered a "long hauler" and couldn't even pick up a basketball for six months after her positive test.
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