WASHINGTON — Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said he’s still dealing with some mild COVID-19 side effects since returning from his bout with the virus, and he believes it’s a reason for his uneven play.
“My body hasn’t recovered the same, in a sense,” Brown said. “I’m talking to our medical staff about that. Like, I feel great. And then it feels like instead of playing one game, it kind of feels like I played three. I’m used to my body responding and recovering a lot faster. I know I just turned 25, but this can’t be what it looks like on the other side.”
Brown was 28 for 50 from the field and averaged 38 points per game in matchups against the Knicks and Hornets, but was just 8 for 29 and averaged 11 points per game in losses to the Raptors and Wizards.
He said he has not had breathing issues, but he is experiencing joint pain and his longer recovery times have affected him.
“I’ve got to get over the hump, get my body to where I feel like Jaylen,” Brown said. “I haven’t felt like Jaylen out there every single game, and that’s what I want to do. That’s what the medical staff wants to strive for. They want me to feel good. Whether I make or miss shots, that’s whatever, but just running up and down the court unimpeded is what I’m focused on.”
Illness sidelines Marcus Smart, Robert Williams
Celtics guard Marcus Smart and center Robert Williams missed Saturday’s game against the Wizards due to non-COVID illnesses. Aaron Nesmith dealt with a similar illness in recent days, coach Ime Udoka said, but was cleared to play.
“It hit a few guys different days,” Udoka said. “I think it might’ve been the same thing. They’re all having the same symptoms. So just manage it, and play through if you can.”
Wing Romeo Langford, meanwhile, returned after missing three games because of a calf strain.
“He’s been out for quite a while so we’ll monitor him,” Udoka said. “He had some, not only the calf, but he’s had a little sickness the last few days, so he could be a little winded.”
Dennis Schroder and Grant Williams replaced Smart and Robert Williams in the starting lineup.
Jayson Tatum trying to stay away from technical fouls
Jayson Tatum has vowed not to let officiating affect his play or his focus, but he picked up his second technical foul of the season on Wednesday. He has led the team in technical fouls in each of the last two seasons. Udoka said it remains a work in progress.
“You have to address it and be honest about it and just understand habits don’t die easily, so it’s something that I’ve preached from Day One, something I’ve spoken to him individually about,” Udoka said. “During the game we tell him to move onto the next play. But it’s something that’s not as easy … It’s like parenting to some extent. They’re not going to just listen to you the first time. Some things have to be broken.”
Game with Wizards offers chance to redeem loss
The Celtics were quite frustrated with their performance in their home loss to the Wizards on Wednesday. But Saturday offered a rare chance to get rid of the sour taste quickly, when the teams met again in Washington.
“It’s similar to I guess bubble situations or whatever the last few years, we play the same team a few times,” Udoka said. “It’s almost playoff-like where you can make adjustments, but at the same time we feel we didn’t have our best effort, put our best foot forward last game. So we have to clean those areas up.”