“I think so,” Brown said after Boston’s practice Friday, when asked if he’s still recovering from COVID-19, for which he tested positive earlier this month. “I’ve noticed in the last couple of days — what, four games for me now? — my body hasn’t recovered the same in a sense. 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.”
Boston announced Brown had tested positive on Oct. 8. After sitting out the requisite 10 days, per the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, he was able to ramp up in time to play in the season opener Oct. 20 against the New York Knicks.
Brown was spectacular in that game, scoring 46 points in 46 minutes in a double-overtime loss, and he had 30 points in an overtime win in Charlotte on Monday. But he has had two duds in Boston’s two home games this season, going a combined 8-for-29 from the field for 22 points, including just 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting in a loss to Washington on Wednesday.
Before the season opener, Brown said he had breathing issues at times, which was his biggest concern in returning from COVID. But while he says that’s fine now, Brown said he’s also dealing with joint pain in addition to his body not recovering fast enough.
“As I continue to fight through it and continue to play more games and get the right stuff into my system, it will get better,” Brown said. “Right now it has been inconsistent. I think that’s obvious. But my body hasn’t felt the same.”
Brown’s inconsistency from game to game was described as “mind boggling” by new Celtics coach Ime Udoka following the Washington loss. Brown, who has talked to Udoka since, said the comment didn’t bother him and he agreed with Udoka’s assessment.
“Ime came and talked to me about it yesterday,” Brown said. “It didn’t bother me. It’s mind-boggling to me too. I was surprised that my body didn’t respond the way it normally responds. I’m usually able to have that zip, that pop, flying up and down the court, but it wasn’t there. I think that was obvious.
“I don’t think he was out of line or anything for that. I gotta be better and get with my medical staff and figure how to get my body to the point where I feel normal. Some days I feel fantastic and then it’s like two, three days, it takes my body too long to feel fantastic again. That’s an issue for me. As I navigate that, we have to still tighten up on the details, tighten up on our defense and find a way to win games. Even though I don’t feel the same on the court, I could still be better in certain areas and detailed in certain areas. That’s more the conversation that we have.”
Brown, who made his first All-Star team last season, is also dealing with left patella tendinopathy, which caused him to miss Sunday’s game in Houston against the Rockets. He also said he has talked to fellow Celtics star Jayson Tatum about his own difficult recovery from COVID-19 last year, though he added it was hard to compare their experiences because they weren’t dealing with the same issues.
“I think it affects everybody a little bit differently. I think Jayson, he said more his breathing was more his concern,” Brown said. “… My recovery has kind of not been the usual kind of recovery. Like, I usually go through a routine. And that routine works. It’s money. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years. Even after a hard game, I do my routine and I should be fine.”
The Celtics (2-3) head to Washington for a rematch with the Wizards on Saturday night. They’ll be without Marcus Smart, who won’t make the trip because of a non-COVID illness. Dennis Schroder is likely to start in Smart’s place.