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UPDATE: Jayson Tatum makes return tonight in Chicago with no minutes restriction

After a five-game absence, the Celtics All-Star comes back after over two weeks

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Last night, Jayson Tatum watched from the sidelines as the Celtics dismantled the Cavaliers 141-103. He didn’t make the trip to Philadelphia last week for a two-game set with the 76ers and instead spent his time ramping up in Boston.

After spending sixteen days in the league’s COVID health and safety protocols, Tatum is officially off the team’s injury report and is expected to return tonight against the Bulls in Chicago at 9 pm EST. In his absence, the Celtics have tread water at 2-3.

Tatum was reportedly asymptomatic after testing positive for the coronavirus on January 9th. He last played against the Wizards a day before being put in quarantine in a duel against good friend Bradley Beal. Tatum torched Washington for 32 points on 14-for-27 shooting from the field.

Through ten games, Tatum is having another All-Star level year with career numbers in points per game (26.9), three-point percentage (43.8%), rebounds (7.1), and assists (3.8). However, his return to the lineup could mean more defensively than on the offensive end. Head coach Brad Stevens has shuttled between his double-big duo with Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis as starters and Grant Williams at the 4 at the tip, but with Tatum available, Stevens will presumably play him mostly at power forward.

Per Brad Stevens, Tatum will not be under any minutes restriction. He was held out yesterday against the Cavaliers because the plan was to have him play in just one game of this home-and-road back-to-back. Kemba Walker will sit out tonight after playing yesterday to rest and rehab his knee.

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