Heading into Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Fournier’s 10th game as Celtic and the sixth since being sidelined, he was clearly in trouble. In his first week back, he had scored a total of 23 points on an 8-for-37 shot and missed 17 of his 21 3-point attempts, with nine assists and eight turnovers in 130 minutes. Naturally, when he scored 21 points on 8 shots against 10 against the Blazers, including 5 3 on 7 attempts, a reporter asked him if that meant he was feeling better.
Thank you for your registration!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
An error occurred while processing your subscription.
Unfortunately, it is not that simple. “I feel really weird, to be honest,” Fournier said. While it felt good to take a few shots and feel a bit more like himself on the pitch, the symptoms persisted.
“It’s like I have a concussion,” Fournier said. “Right now it’s a little better, but at first it’s like the bright lights are bothering my eyes and my vision is blurry and everything is going too fast for me. And, I mean, it still is. Some [things] are better, but sometimes I really have trouble concentrating and my eyes have trouble focusing on one thing. My depth perception is really bad right now. “
Fournier said she saw a specialist and gave him some exercises to do. He said he felt “slightly better” for “two or three days now, maybe four” and he “can’t just stop games or train because I’m not feeling well mentally – my body is available, I have to be available. He said he was determined to ‘keep pushing’ and that he ‘isn’t too concerned about my health because I know that over time it will get better’, but, for now , it is still “far from where it should be”.
Five weeks ago, during his first Zoom conversation with Boston media, Fournier said he was excited when he heard about the trade and wanted to help the team win. He also lamented that a false positive COVID-19 test delayed its debut by a few days, saying it was “not the best time for this to happen”. Fournier is 28, in his ninth season and on an expiring contract, and he’s made the playoffs three times in his career – as a rookie in Denver, then the final two in Orlando. Every appearance ended in the first round, and with the Magic, he wasn’t as effective as he was in the regular season.
Ideally, the trade would have given him seven weeks to learn trends from his teammates and set his pace ahead of the playoffs. Instead, he’s just trying to get back to normal.
“It’s very unfortunate, the timing of things,” Fournier said. “Obviously I’m new here so people don’t really know my game and don’t know who I am. And that’s just terrible timing. I come here with high expectations and high ambitions, trying to make a race, and for the first time. in my career, I have the opportunity to have a really deep run in the playoffs with a team, so it’s kind of a golden opportunity for me to finally be with a great team, and the fact that I ‘ve had COVID and now I feel like that, it’s heartbreaking, to be honest. “
The Celtics’ Jayson Tatum was one of the first NBA players to speak frankly about the aftermath of COVID-19, claiming in February that he found himself short of breath and fatigued much faster than usual during games. Two months later, Tatum revealed that he still uses an inhaler before every game. When Fournier was ill, Tatum warned him that the most difficult time is when you return.
While Fournier’s performance against Portland may have looked like a breakthrough, it’s not like he’s put COVID-19 behind him. His plan, he said, was “to stop talking about it, it might help.” The reality, however, is that his body doesn’t care what he’s talking about on Zoom. “It was a painful comeback, to say the least,” he said, “but what matters is that we build momentum ahead of the playoffs. In other words, there is little he can do to speed up his recovery. In the meantime, he will play hard and hope for the best.