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Celtics give update on Evan Fournier with playoffs looming

Celtics, Evan Fournier, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum

On Thursday, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens provided an encouraging update on Evan Fournier, who has missed the team’s last eight games after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols on April 4.

As relayed by Yahoo’s Kevin Smith, the wing is “likely” to play this weekend, per Stevens.

Earlier in the day, during a hit on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” show, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge spoke on Fournier.

“Evan is doing well,” Ainge said. “He was in the facility working out yesterday, so hopefully he’ll be in (the facility) again today and get a lot of work in, and hopefully play maybe this weekend.”

Fournier cleared COVID-19 protocols earlier this week and participated in Celtics practice on Wednesday. Ainge said he needs a few days to ramp up his conditioning.

Jayson Tatum, who has been relying on an inhaler months after a rough bout with COVID-19, said he’s been communicating with Fournier about the virus.

Boston faces the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center on Sunday afternoon, which could be a realistic target date for Fournier’s return.

“I’ve talked to him quite a bit about it,” Tatum said Wednesday, per Boston.com. “He’s asked me things, and I told him how I felt, and things to look out for when you get back. I think the toughest period is when you first get back.

Obviously, because you’ve been sitting down for a while and because of the virus. Hopefully, he’ll be all right.  I’m sure he will. But he knows I’m here for anything while he’s dealing with it.”

The nine-year veteran has only played four games for the Celtics since being acquired before the March 25th trade deadline for two second-round picks and Jeff Teague. Prior to the deal, Fournier averaged 19.7 points in 26 games for the Orlando Magic. The 28-year old has averaged 11.5 PPG in four appearances for the C’s.