Jayson Tatum returns to Team USA practice, out vs. Brazil
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum returned to Team USA practice, but he will miss a third consecutive game as the Americans take on Brazil Monday in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The 6-foot-8 wing suffered a sprained ankle during Team USA’s overtime tilt against Turkey, rendering him out for at least two games, which he already missed against Japan and Greece.
Tatum had been one of the leading scorers and a versatile option for coach Gregg Popovich, but his injury has forced the longtime NBA coach to shuffle the pieces of his roster and truck along through the course of the tournament.
Team USA has managed a perfect 4-0 record thus far despite a scare against Turkey, escaping with a one-point win in overtime, then coasting in its next two games.
Tatum was hoping to see the floor against Brazil but the coaching and training staff are keenly aware they will need his presence in single elimination games. With a spot locked down in the quarterfinals, Tatum’s return to the floor can wait another game:
“I’m feeling good, feeling a lot better than when it first happened,” said Tatum, who sprained his left ankle in the final seconds of an overtime victory over Turkey on Tuesday. “I hope I can play [Wednesday], there’s no timetable or anything. Just trying to get back right.”
The third-year forward averaged 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds through the first two games of competition, production which has been replaced by Khris Middleton in the past two games.