“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:
Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger will miss the rest of the season with a back injury, league sources tell Y! Sports. He will need surgery.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 1, 2013
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.