Jared Sullinger’s rookie season was a rollercoaster ride. After falling to the bottom half of the NBA Draft, the bulky power forward quieted his doubters over the first half of the Celtics’ season, proving himself as one the few bright spots for Boston off the bench. Perhaps more impressively, Sullinger earned a spot in Doc Rivers’ rotation from the start of training camp, and showed a nose for the offensive glass that the C’s desperately needed, much like Leon Powe did in his first few seasons in ton.
Unfortunately, it all came to a halt in the last week of January, as Sullinger pulled up with a back injury against the Sacramento Kings on January 30th and was undergoing season-ending back surgery a mere two days later. The youngster is on track to return in time for training camp and the Celtics released a terrific documentary today, chronicling his return:
Sullinger also spoke with reporters today at a community appearance in Dorchester with the C’s
Our friend Jay King of Masslive.com was on the scene with Sullinger at the Victory Programs’ Revision Family Home in Dorchester and had a few fun quotes from Sullinger on the documentary and his back itself.
“It’s [the back] completely fixed, so you can run and tell that,” he said while helping Sun Life Financial to improve and redesign the Victory Programs’ Revision Family Home in Dorchester.
Still in the middle of a rehabilitation process designed to have him ready by training camp, the 21-year old isn’t sure exactly how much will change about his game now that he’s healthy.
“I don’t know,” Sullinger said. “I haven’t fully did a max jump or anything, so I really couldn’t tell you. It’s going to be interesting to see. I’m just as dumb as you are at this point of knowing what my career will hold in the future.”
After averaging 6.0 points and 5.9 rebounds during his injury-shortened rookie campaign, Sullinger has already changed at least one critic’s opinion. During a recent interview with Celtics.com, strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo said he initially doubted the power forward “as a person” after seeing him play at Ohio State. Not impressed by Sullinger’s physique, Doo said he wondered how much the skilled big man worked on his “terrible body.”
Though meeting Sullinger and seeing his work ethic in person completely changed Doo’s feelings about the former Buckeye, he still jokes about the extra pounds Sullinger hasn’t shed.
“He tells me that all the time. He always, every time I score, says, ‘Look at that fat boy scoring. I don’t know how he scores,'” Sullinger said with a laughing. “But finally we were around each other, and it’s mutual respect. I can understand that, but B-Doo, that’s my guy. I have no complaints with him.”
Laughing again while calling a recent workout “only five hours, nothing big,” Sullinger is happy to be regaining his power.
“I’m finally working on my legs again,” he said. “Before they had to protect it due to my back, so just getting a little bit of the leg strength back.”
“I know there are still some doubts (Doo) has about me,” he added, “so I’m working on that.”
Be sure and check out the full piece over at Masslive.com.
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