Celtics

Fournier has felt concussion-like symptoms after bout with COVID-19

Celtics

Evan Fournier is back in the Boston Celtics lineup and starting to show how effective he can be as a scorer in the starting lineup or coming off the bench, but it wasn't easy for him to get to this point.

And the hard work isn't done yet, either.

Fournier was acquired by the Celtics on NBA trade deadline day last month, and after playing two games with his new team, he was placed in the league's health and safety protocols.

The veteran guard was battling COVID-19, and he dealt with some serious symptoms, which he detailed in his postgame press conference after Sunday night's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I’ve been feeling really weird, to be honest,” Fournier explained. “My plan was to stop talking about it so it might help me, but the thing is, it's like I have a concussion. Right now, it’s actually doing a little bit better. But at first, it’s like the bright lights were bothering my eyes and my vision was blurry and everything was just going too fast for me. And, I mean, that’s still the case. Some stuff are better. But at times, I’m really struggling to focus and my eyes are struggling to focus on one thing. My depth perception is really bad right now. But I saw a specialist, and she gave me some exercises. Hopefully, it'll get better.”

Latest on Tatum and Brown's injuries in Celtics-Blazers game

Fournier is still improving physically, but getting back to 100 percent is going to take more time. Sunday's game was a step in the right direction, though.

 

“It’s been two or three days now, maybe four, where things are a little bit better,” Fournier said. “It’s nowhere near where it needs to be, but I’m going to keep pushing and I’m going to keep working on my stuff and things are going to get better. But it felt great honestly to be able to make shots and feel like myself a little bit. It’s been a painful comeback, to say the least, but what matters is that we build momentum going into the playoffs and we need to keep playing hard. Tonight was tough, but we need those wins”

The timing for Fournier also is really tough. He's never played past the first round of the playoffs, and the opportunity to make a deep playoff run in Boston is very exciting for him. It all makes his situation even more frustrating.

Jayson Tatum sets more Celtics records as hot streak continues

“I’m not overly concerned for my health because I know in time it’s going to get better, and I have no doubt that I’ll be good,” Fournier said. “It’s just very unfortunate the timing of things. Obviously, I’m new here. So people don’t really know my game and know who I am and it’s just terrible timing. I get here with high expectations and ambitions, and for the first time in my career, I have the opportunity to make a really deep run into the playoffs with a team.

"So, it’s kind of a golden opportunity for me to finally be with a great team and the fact that I got COVID and now I’m feeling like this, it’s heartbreaking, to be honest. So, that’s the hard part. You guys don’t know me yet, but I’m mentally as tough as it gets and I get through that for sure.”

Fournier played his best game as a Celtic against the Blazers. He scored 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting (5-for-7 from 3-point range), along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals. It was the type of performance the Celtics envisioned from Fournier when they made the trade to get him.

It's going to take a bit for Fournier to feel like himself again from a physical standpoint, but he's certainly made impressive progress and his play Sunday night was very encouraging for the Celtics.