Celtics' Jayson Tatum Won't Play vs. Wizards Because of Ankle Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 26, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Jayson Tatum of Boston Celtics is seen during NBA playoffs between Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn of New York City, United States on April 25, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum will miss Sunday's game against the Washington Wizards because of a sprained left ankle.

In terms of both individual and team success, Tatum is coming off his best season in the NBA.

The 24-year-old was an All-Star for the third time and earned his first first-team All-NBA nod after averaging 26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 76 games. He's pushed his scoring to 30.5 points per game for the 15-4 Celtics, who sit with the NBA's best record.

The Celtics rode their second-half surge in the regular season last year to the NBA Finals. Although they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games, the run alleviated a lot of the concerns about whether the franchise could contend for a title with the tandem of Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

That also impacted how the front office approached the offseason. Rather than doing anything transformative, Boston added Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari, though the latter suffered a torn ACL while on Italian national team duty.

Tatum's value to the Celtics is obvious. Any push to retain their Eastern Conference crown hinges on his health and performance. But interim head coach Joe Mazzulla has enough depth at his disposal to handle a short-term absence for the 6'8" forward.

Brown will have to handle more of the scoring burden, and this could be an opportunity for Brogdon to step up in a big way.