No matter the sport, by the time teams reach the championship round they’re usually dealing with a handful of injuries. That was the case in the 2022 NBA Finals, where both teams had star players reportedly playing through physical issues.
Perhaps none of those situations created as much intrigue as Jayson Tatum’s shoulder injury. The 24-year-old injured his right shoulder earlier in the playoffs, and although he didn’t miss any time he could periodically be seen favoring the area throughout the series.
At the same time, Tatum had his worst series of any of the four in these playoffs. He averaged just 21.5 points per game – his fewest of any playoff series since 2019, and shot under 40 percent from the floor.
After Thursday night’s Game 6 series-ending loss – in which he shot 6-of-18 from the field and turned the ball over rive times – Tatum was asked just how much, if at all, that shoulder injury impacted his performance. “It was just a tough night,” he replied.
The severity of Tatum’s injury, which was listed as a ‘right cervical nerve impingement’ last time he appeared on the injury report during the Miami series, has also been questioned given his dip in performance. When asked if he’ll need surgery on his shoulder after the season, Tatum told reporters “I don’t think so.”
Tatum’s shoulder issue may not have been the only injury he was playing through during the playoffs either. He missed games late in the regular season with a right knee injury.