Boston forward Jayson Tatum and his teammates were tested for coronavirus after teammate Marcus Smart tested positive. “So it was like ‘wow, any of us could have it at this point,’” said Tatum who tested negative. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

 

Jayson Tatum is luckier than most people nowadays.

When he was potentially exposed to COVID-19, the Boston Celtics found their way to test him and the rest of the team. Since returning from Milwaukee, where the team was scheduled to face the Bucks when the NBA shut down, Tatum has been holed up in his house.

“It was scary when (Marcus) Smart found out that he had it and he didn’t have any symptoms,” Smart told Jeff Goodman on the latest episode of the Good N’ Plenty podcast. “So it was like ‘wow, any of us could have it at this point.’”

Smart was asymptomatic throughout the run of his bout with COVID-19, which he since announced had cleared up. Tatum says one of the hardest parts of the process was waiting for the test results, which were held up by a backlog. Tatum spent a week-and-a-half home in Boston, but unable to see his son.

“That was the longest I’ve ever been in the same place as him and I couldn’t see him,” Tatum said. “So that was tough. … I was FaceTiming with him every night. I was FaceTiming with him throughout the day.”

Tatum finally got to see his son once the test came back negative, but he’s still isolating himself. Tatum has also been driving around town in a classic Mustang he got for his birthday. It’s about all he can do outside of trying to stay in shape at home.

He says after a couple of lazy weeks of just watching TV and eating, he’s taking advantage of the Celtics supplying him with some equipment. It’s not the same as playing, though.

“I ain’t dribbled a basketball, I ain’t shot a free throw. It’s like, dang,” he said. “I’ve been watching my highlights, like, every day. I’ve watched every game from this season. I’ve watched rookie year. I’ve watched high school. I’ve watched college. Anything I can find, I just watch it.”

Tatum, as you can imagine, is anxious for basketball to return. He’s also frustrated by the uncertainty of the entire situation, especially when he sees images of people ignoring warnings about the pandemic and gathering at places like beaches and parks.

“It’s frustrating because (staying home is) not the worst thing in the world,” he said. “You got food, you got TV, and we’ve got WiFi. That’s all you need, especially if you’re my age. If you don’t have any kids, just stay at home. You’re making it harder for everybody else and prolonging how long this goes on. Just do your part and stay home.”

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