SHENZHEN, China — Jayson Tatum was able to return to practice with the U.S. men’s basketball team Monday, less than a week after he sprained his left ankle.
He did not play Monday night when the U.S. (5-0) closed out World Cup second-round play with an 89-73 win over Brazil. It is unclear whether Tatum will be ready for a quarterfinal game against France on Wednesday.
“I hope I can play,” Tatum said. “There’s no timetable or anything. I’m just trying to get back right.”
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports Tatum has a “strong chance” to play Wednesday.
Jayson Tatum has a strong chance to make his return for Team USA in quarterfinals against France on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/1qx48uoeGi
— Stadium (@Stadium) September 9, 2019
Tatum said he went through the entire U.S. shootaround practice in advance of the Brazil game, able to run and cut without difficulty.
“Felt good,” Tatum said.
The Boston Celtics forward sprained the ankle in the final seconds of overtime in last week’s 93-92 win over Turkey on a play where he set up U.S. teammate Khris Middleton for what became the game-winning free throws. Tatum made two of three free throws with one-tenth of a second left in regulation of that game, sending it to overtime.
Tatum started the first two games of the tournament for the U.S., averaging 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per contest.
“When it first happened I was upset,” Tatum said. “I didn’t want to miss any games. But it’s nothing significant.”
U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said he didn’t have an update on when Tatum could potentially return, though seeing him on the floor Monday was an obvious good sign.
“It’s encouraging,” Popovich said.