Boston Celtics

Just how bad is Jayson Tatum’s ankle sprain?

Jayson Tatum’s ankle sprain doesn’t appear to be too bad, so that sigh of relief you heard came from the Boston Celtics.

As Team USA was being tested by Turkey Tuesday night in FIBA World Cup play, Jayson Tatum suffered a sprained left ankle late in overtime. The team managed to escape with a 93-92 win, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Tatum was not even walking with a limp as he left the arena after the game.

So Tatum has avoided a significant injury, but according to multiple reports, he will miss at least the next two games for Team USA. The team’s final game of pool play is Thursday against Japan, followed by the start of second-round play they’ve already qualified for on Saturday. Windhorst has more specifically added Tatum will be out at least five days.

The first game where Team USA could face World Cup elimination would come on Monday, which is the day Tatum will be reevaluated.

The composition of Team USA’s World Cup roster points to players not being willing to risk injury in an international tournament that’s not the Olympics or an Olympic qualifier. The honor of playing for your country can’t be overlooked, but the prestige is far different from the World Cup this year to the next Olympics in 2020. Simply put, a lower-tier international tournament that bumps up closely to the start of training camp isn’t worth the risk of not being available for your NBA team.

Next: 8 young NBA players ready for big role in 2019-20

The Boston Celtics may have preferred Tatum didn’t play in the World Cup, of course without saying so publicly or to him privately. So Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens and company are definitely breathing as a sigh of relief that the ankle injury is not serious, with a pretty good chance Tatum will miss the rest of Team USA’s run in the tournament.

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