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Jayson Tatum still dealing with COVID-19 impacts: ‘I think it messes with your breathing’

Jayson Tatum tested positive for COVID-19 back in early January and had to sit out a couple of weeks — missing five games — to recover, get cleared to return, and get back into shape.

It’s been a dozen games now, but Tatum said Tuesday that he still feels the effects of the disease when he’s on the court. Via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston:

“I think it messes with your breathing a little bit,” Tatum told reporters... “I have experienced some games where, I don’t want to say struggling to breathe, but you get fatigued a lot quicker than normal just running up and down the court a few times.

“It’s easier to get out of breath or tired a lot faster. I’ve noticed that since I’ve had COVID. It’s gotten better since the first game I’ve played, but I still deal with it from time to time.”

That seems to have shown up in Tatum’s shot of late. In his last six games — including Boston’s win Tuesday night over Denver — Tatum is shooting just 34.9%.

It has been known for a while COVID-19 has serious impacts on the respiratory system, and those can last well after the person has otherwise recovered from the disease (showing no symptoms and testing negatively). The long-term impacts of the disease are not yet known, but long-term lung and heart issues are two things the NBA is watching closely with players.

Tatum’s situation is a reminder of why we still need to take the virus seriously. In his case, you can be sure it’s something the Celtics’ medical staff will monitor closely.