Celtics' Jayson Tatum Enters NBA's COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 27, 2021

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) is in action during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Miami. The Heat won 121-100. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

The Boston Celtics confirmed Monday that star Jayson Tatum has entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic first reported the news.

Boston turned a new page in the offseason, with Brad Stevens replacing Danny Ainge as the president of basketball operations and Ime Udoka taking Stevens' post as head coach. Tatum, more than any other player, is pivotal toward leading the way for the transition.

The 23-year-old is on pace for another All-Star season. Through 33 games, he's averaging 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds.

The Celtics, on the other hand, are falling short of expectations. They sit ninth in the Eastern Conference at 16-17, and their performance is leading to questions over whether large-scale changes are required:

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The Suns took care of the Celtics last night, sending them to a 13-14 record.<br> <a href="https://twitter.com/JakeLFischer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JakeLFischer</a> tells <a href="https://twitter.com/BGeltzNBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BGeltzNBA</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/SamMitchellNBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SamMitchellNBA</a> why he thinks some big roster changes could be on the way in Boston. <a href="https://t.co/uY2usjgT7K">pic.twitter.com/uY2usjgT7K</a>

The promise Boston showed with back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017 and 2018 hasn't fully materialized. Getting back to the conference finals in 2019-20 is the deepest the franchise has gone since then, and that doesn't qualify as enough when the Celtics appeared to be on the precipice of something special.

In the short term, Tatum's absence will serve as a reminder of how reliant the Celtics are on his and Jaylen Brown's contributions.