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Breaking: Jared Sullinger Undergoes Back Surgery, Will Miss Remainder of Season

“I’m not that concerned. Could he miss games? Like I said, here and there he may. But it’s not anything career-threatening or anything like that.” – Doc Rivers at Thursday’s practice on Jared Sullinger

Incredibly, things have taken quite a different path for C’s rookie Jared Sullinger in the past 24 hours. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports broke the news with the unfortunate news minutes ago:

UPDATE: The Boston Celtics announced forward Jared Sullinger underwent successful lumbar disc surgery today at the New England Baptist Hospital. Surgery was performed by the medical staff at the New England Baptist Hospital which is under the direction of Celtics Team Physician, Dr. Brian McKeon. Sullinger is expected to be ready in time for training camp for the 2013-14 season.

 CH’s Take: Worst injury week ever for the Celtics? Obviously another crippling blow to the C’s chances this season with the loss of the stud 20-year-old power forward who dropped to the C’s in the draft due to these very back issues which have now come to fruition. Here was Danny Ainge talking about them yesterday on WEEI: (Via Greg Payne at ESPNBoston)

On whether Sullinger’s current back issues are related to the ones that were red-flagged prior to last June’s draft: “Well, yeah. I think that when he was drafted with the medical reports that we had on his back, I think it would be crazy to think that there would not be some days missed… (head trainder) Eddie Lacerte and (team doctor) Dr. McKeon and (strength and conditioning coach) Bryan Doo, they spend a lot of time with Jared each day, stretching and formulating plans to strengthen his core and to strengthen the muscles around his back, because he does have management issues back there. And so I think that this is not a surprise. I guess I would say I’m a little surprised that it’s taken this long. He’s been with us since July 1 and he’s been pain-free and hasn’t missed a day of practice until the game last night when it was just sort of a freak thing. He got a rebound and his back spasmed up.”

It was much more than just a spasm unfortunately. What does it mean for the C’s? In the short term, expect Brandon Bass back into the starting lineup as was expected and increased time obviously for Chris Wilcox, Jason Collins, and Jeff Green at the four spot. Long term, this might be the injury that really pushes Danny over the top to make some major trade moves later this month. C’s could obviously look to bring in a big at the power forward spot (hello, Kenyon Martin?) if they want to stay semi-competitive this year, but with Sullinger going down, the team’s rebounding is dealt a crucial blow they may be unable to recover from. There’s no one out there on the free agent market that could hit the glass like Sully.

Much more on this development as it comes in. CelticsHub will be reporting live from the TD Garden tonight with reaction from teammates and head coach Doc Rivers.

  • NHBluesMan

    goodbye season…

  • Switcharoo

    This makes me cry green tears. Damnit all!

  • High Rollers

    The kid proved he has what it takes to shine in this league. Hope the doctors can settle on a way to strengthen that back for the long term. He’s got Celtic attitude and pride. Hopefully he comes back stronger than ever next year, along with 9. Get well soon, Sully.

    • High Rollers

      Sully already had successful surgery TODAY according to the team's website. Good start.

  • I_Love_Green

    Wow :( this is really depressing. Rondo and Sully :(

  • elroz

    Well, KG, Wilcox, Bass, Collins is a doable front line. Wilcox has got to play well. I don't worry about Bass – given the extra minutes, he will respond..perhaps better than with Sully taking the minutes.

    Collins and Wilcox are the two "wild cards" …Doc has to play Collins longer minutes – say 12 a game; and Wilcox to provide 18-20 a game. They'll be ok then.

  • CG12

    Argh. I also think Bass will respond well with longer minutes, but this is not a good thing. Wilcox is going to have to step up. And Melo is going to get some burn, as well. I'm not sure how I feel about that. This ain't the D-League. Collins is still Collins – he can give you some passable D in short minutes, but any time you are relying on Jason Collins, it is not a good thing.

  • Phil725

    When it rains it pours, huh? Hard to see how the Cs recover from this one. I guess you could've called them doing anything significant this year already a slim chance with Rondo out, but their chances of being a fun team to watch who wins a solid amount of games just took a big shot. I'm not sure if people understand the impact Sully had on this team, but it was wide reaching and very positive. A KG/Bass/Wilcox/Collins rotation isn't good enough to win on most nights.

    Tough break for Sullinger above all; he was in the process of proving he can start in the NBA, and now faces an uphill climb to even land a solid second contract. I hope his recovery goes well, and I hope this isn't something that haunts him his whole career.

  • Josh_5

    Holy hell we are f*cked.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Didn't you already stop watching the team?

      • Josh_5

        ……(awkward silence) look, its complicated.

        • CelticsBIG3

          Stay with us bro

  • KillerGymRat

    Wow! For an organization with a 4 leaf clover as a logo this team seriously has some of the worst luck. Pretty much going back all the way to Len Bias.

    I hope Sully is able to recover and this isn't a career ending turn for him.

    As for the C's. At this point you have to think giving big minutes to the likes of Melo and Green, resting PP and KG and fading into the lottery is really the best course of action. There are no deals worth making…at least none that elevate this team to a legitimate contender…and we could end up with a high draft selection. Lottery picks are cap friendly and we could end up with the athletic big this team sorely needs or trade the pick in a package deal to round out the core group.

    Hopefully with Rondo and Sully healed up, and Melo, Green, and the role players having a full year to develop this team could be much better then with any quick trade fix.

    But damn. What a terrible week for the C's.

    Get better guys!

  • Danny

    Unfortunetly and I hope I’m wrong but we missed our chance to get rid of sully three weeks ago. To me it seems the red flags were real and this is going to be a career long thing that never goes away. I love sully but some people’s bodies just aren’t made for the nba. This disk thing seems more like a body flaw than an injury and surgery may not fix it. Hopefully he proves me wrong.

    • Phil725

      It's not like his value was sky high a week ago. He was a rookie averaging 6/6 with injury red flags who hadn't played a whole season yet. The best path to take was keep him playing on the team at a high level for the rest of the year at least, and investigate trading him after that. He was too important to the team to trade for what you would've gotten (a lottery protected first maybe?)

  • Danny

    Needing surgery 40 games into your first nba season on the same issue that all the other teams passed on you for is not a good sign. I’d love to hear from anyone on here that maybe has some decent medical knowledge about this kind of issue.

  • IBleedGreen

    Think on the bright side, at least we didn't draft Royce White…

  • Danny

    I agree I wasn’t in the trade sully camp either I’m just saying that might have been your only chance to get anything for him. We might be looking at our own mini Greg Oden.

    • Phil725

      But something like 1/5 (or less) picks after #20 actually work out to have an NBA career. I'd still take Sully after this news over the 20th pick next year. At least we know he can play if he stays healthy. Guys like JaJuan Johnson or JR Giddens aren't better alternatives.

  • Kafel

    Damn it… So much bad luck in one week? Just when we though this draft pick was sooo good. Danny clearly doesn't have a hand for picks.

    Even without Rondo I was positive about C's making playoffs but right now I don't know…. sh*t! This is really devastating. Sully was that energy guy for us and playing better with each game.
    Try to sign Kenyon Martin now?

  • IBleedGreen

    Should have traded Rondo and Sully for Cousins and Evans…now there isn't any trade chips on the team

  • Danny

    I’m with you Phil the draft is a crapshoot anyway. sometimes u get manu ginobili in the second round sometimes you take greg oden #1 or darko #2. that’s why I’m against tanking this year. And I’m against trading pierce to someone for a mid-late first round pick in what’s considered to be the weakest NBA draft in years. I’m not gonna go back and say we should have drafted this guy instead. What I am saying is we took a gamble on a guy like sully and it’s a real possibility that it failed. It happens it just sucks. We put it on red it came up black. I hope I’m wrong and sully comes back next year and has a long wonderful career. I have my doubts tho.

    • KillerGymRat

      I would never suggest tanking. This team at full strength was playing sub .500 ball. We all hoped it would turn around at some point but the reality is its only thanks to the weakness of the East that a playoff slot has been even remotely possible.

      Now with two major injuries it isn't tanking to expect this team will continue to lose as much as they win. I disagree the lottery is a total crapshoot. Nearly every player comes in the league that way, and Sam Presti has proven that building with young talent through the draft is the only way to create a star-studded team in this new NBA economy. Within two seasons Miami will have to break up their team and the Lakers are set to get pummeled with Luxury tax next season if they don't clean house.

      The days of building big 3's through trades and free agency are over. It's just too complicated and expensive.

      I do have to agree Danny Ainge is no Sam Presti, and the C's front office, post Auerbach, has never been particularly good at finding talent in the draft, and tends to give up on and trade away the good talent it rarely does find.

  • Morpheus

    Longer minutes for Bass, BAD. Longer minutes for KG? Very very bad. Minutes for Collins…THE HORROR.

    If i was Danny i wouldn't even try to sign KMart for a one year rental just to fail miserably in the playoffs if we even make it that far.

    Danny has to face reality now, there's no escaping the inevitable now. Damn, what a shitty season this has turned out to be.

  • hydrofluoric

    This one might really slam the door on the season.

  • Our dark horse just got darker.

  • FrenchLick

    hate to hear this. Already anticipating next year!

  • Phil725

    I'm sure it's largely spin, but I do like hearing the quotes from Ainge/the doctors about this being the best thing for him long term. Maybe it really is a situation where he just needed to get it fixed and miss a season.

    Still, looking up the draft day reports didn't do much to make me feel better. Here's the relevant paragraph:

    Sullinger, who is projected to be a lottery pick in the draft on June 28, underwent a series of medical tests at the draft combine a week ago. A number of NBA team doctors have reviewed the information from the NBA and have told their front office staff that Sullinger's back issues could shorten his NBA career, and some have advised their teams not to draft him in the first round.

    I remember hearing about him potentially needing surgery at some point too. Obviously that ship has sailed, now I'm just hoping that shortened career scenario doesn't come to fruition.

  • I_Love_Green


  • fdsafdsafdsa

    It's time to blow up the team and focus on the future rather than one last push.

  • Anthony

    Come on man…Are you serious?! SMH

    Guess we're gonna have to rely on Bass and Fab stepping up.

    So what does DA do now? This is still a playoff team but he has to make a move or trades right?

  • Ryan DeGama

    For the record, I was working on a post called "Welcome To The Rebuild" last night before we knew about Sully. It'll run Monday now. Time to move on.

  • chris m

    Kind of nuts that less than a week after the Atlanta game, my wife got both rondo and sully autographed on a 1988 Celtics stock quarterly report that i took to game 6 of the 88 semis that Boston won 102/100. On that report I have Ainge, Red, and REGGIE LEWIS autographs. If Green and Wilcox go down then I’m torching this report.

  • CG12

    Seats on the bandwagon may not be reclaimed once forfeited.

    • CelticsBIG3

      People will be hoping off. I've watched bad Celtics teams in the past and I will again.

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