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Jayson Tatum expected to return Monday vs. Bulls

Celtics forward has been sidelined since Jan. 8 due to health and safety protocols.

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics makes a pass against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden on January 08, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Boston Celtics F Jayson Tatum is expected to return to the lineup on Monday vs. the Chicago Bulls after being cleared of health and safety protocols. Tatum has missed the past five games after being placed in protocols due to Covid-19 contact tracing. The Celtics had three games postponed after Tatum was placed in protocols. Boston is 2-3 in those five games without Tatum.

With Tatum expected back in the lineup, we should see the Celtics return to a more normal look. Kemba Walker is expected to be get some rest for Monday’s game, so the Celtic should start Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis. We don’t know what Tatum’s conditioning is like, but as long as he’s 100 percent, there’s no reason to believe he won’t play a normal allotment of minutes.

Tatum ($8,900) and Brown ($8,500) are both around the same price. With Tatum out, Brown has scored at least 21 points in five straight games, including 42 two games ago against the Sixers. Tatum should take some touches and usage away from Brown. It’s tough to trust both players on DraftKings until we know a bit more about Tatum’s minutes. With Walker and rookie Payton Pritchard out, the Celtics should use plenty of Smart ($6,400) and Jeff Teague ($3,700).

The Celtics are still only favored by 4.5 points on the road vs. the Bulls. That number should adjust a bit with the Tatum news. The O/U is also at 228, which is helped even more by the presence of Tatum on offense. The Bulls play up in pace and aren’t a strong defensive team. Chicago will also be without Wendell Carter Jr. again, so that hurts the Bulls’ interior defense.