Celtics star Jayson Tatum gives update on his breathing post-COVID

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Jayson Tatum gives update on his breathing post-COVID originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's been a difficult year for the Boston Celtics as injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic have presented unique challenges on and off the court.

For All-Star forward Jayson Tatum, he's still feeling the effects of COVID-19 after battling it in January.

Tatum revealed last month that he's used an inhaler before games to help his breathing, which is still not back to where it was before he had COVID-19.

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How is he feeling four months after battling the virus? Tatum joined the latest episode of "The Woj Pod" with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski to discuss his current status.

"Yeah, people still ask me that to this day, and the answer I give all the time is, I do feel better, so much better than, I guess, the first game I came back and played from having it," Tatum explained. "I can tell and notice that my breathing is much better than it was then, but I also tell people that -- it's hard to explain and hard to pinpoint -- but I don't necessarily feel or breathe the same that I did before I had COVID.

"There's a difference in how my breathing is before I had the virus to now. I know I still go out there and perform, but I do tell people that -- it's hard to explain -- but I just feel different. I just breathe a little different now than before I had the virus."

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What was it like for Tatum to deal with these changes in his breathing after he returned to game action?

"It was frightening at first. It also was frustrating, trying to come back and play and just feeling restricted," Tatum said. "It's hard to play when you're out of breath or short winded. It was hard to play at an extremely high level like I know I can. I think that was the toughest part, just trying to figure out how long is this going to last. Am I ever going to feel back to 100 percent?

"Those were the thoughts that were going through my mind as I was playing and getting ready for games. I was always thinking about it when I was getting ready to play."

Despite the difficulties Tatum has faced since battling the virus, he's still played at a very high level for the Celtics. Since the All-Star break in March, he's averaging 27.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.3 percent from the floor and 40.2 percent on 3-point shots.

A strong case could be made for Tatum to earn a spot on one of the three All-NBA teams, but with the Celtics' recent struggles winning games, it might be hard for him to get that recognition from the voters.