Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum said he's well down the road to recovery from the shoulder injury he dealt with during the latter stages of the 2022 NBA playoffs.
Tatum, who suffered the injury during the Eastern Conference Finals and played through it in the team's loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, provided an update Thursday to Justin Quinn of CelticsWire on the Celtics Lab podcast.
"Yeah, it feels a lot better," Tatum said. "It got a lot of time to rest that it needed. So, it definitely felt a lot better."
The injury didn't appear to hurt Tatum's shooting stroke as he knocked down 20 of his 44 three-point attempts (45.5 percent) in the Finals, but it was a bigger issue while dealing with contact as he made just 24 of his 76 two-point shots (31.6 percent) against the Warriors.
After the Celtics' season-ending loss in Game 6, the three-time All-Star said he planned to recover through standard rest and recovery.
"No, I don't think [I'll need surgery]," Tatum told reporters.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Duke product told Quinn his main focus throughout the summer is making sure his body is prepared for another campaign after a short offseason following the team's deep playoff run.
"Always first and foremost taking care of my body, in the weight room working on my legs and making sure my core [is good]," Tatum said. "Changing my diet, trying to eat better. The basketball stuff is easier to figure out; I've been doing it so long. I think your body is what keeps you up here."
The All-NBA first-team selection averaged 26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.0 threes across 76 appearances during the 2021-22 regular season. He finished sixth in MVP voting.
Despite the Celtics' success, there have been rumors about a potential blockbuster trade that could bring Kevin Durant to Boston, which could see the departure of longtime teammate Jaylen Brown.
Tatum explained to Quinn the best thing to do is avoid all the speculation when possible, saying it's important to "learn just to keep your own sanity and your own peace."
"That's the world we live in, right? It always comes from an anonymous source. But it always makes ESPN or Twitter or whatever, and everybody sees it," he said. "So you never know what is true and what's not true, but it gets people to talk about it, and I guess that's the idea."
So far there's been no indication a Durant deal is actually close, so there's a strong chance the Celtics run it back with mostly the same core next season.
And it sounds like Tatum will be all systems go when the campaign tips off in October.