The news is spreading in a quick fury that Boston Celtics 22nd overall draft selection and rookie sensation Jared Sullinger will need season ending back surgery. Sullinger had missed practice as well as shoot around this morning following back spasms he experienced during the opening minutes of the previous game against the Sacramento Kings.
There was always heavy talk of Sullinger’s “chronic” back issues which made his draft stock go into a sort of fuzzy opinionated haze. A lot of teams passed on a kid who was a top prospect even in his high school years. That has to say something. I believe that the Celtics organization was well aware of the issues but for this kid to need season ending surgery halfway through his rookie season seems like the status of his back issues have now moved from a yellow to orange alert. There’s been a lot of skepticism of Sullinger’s body type and overall shape and some of those questions are finally starting to be answered for us. This certainly seems like a situation that perhaps could benefit from being rectified earlier rather than later.
As far as immediate roster changes go I still don’t expect Danny Ainge to bite fast on any bail-out type of trades. I expect to see the team do what it should have started doing earlier in the year which is rebuild and develop the young talent that they have. The door for a title is looking more and more like a closed one as the Celtics roster looks especially thin on the front line as of today. The talk of Paul Pierce being put on the block makes sense, but I just don’t see Ainge letting Pierce go unless it is a major knock out bargain that would help the team sufficiently short and long term. The guy spent a lot of his best years in a green and white uniform on sub .500 teams, for a guy that has done as much as he has for the franchise in both light and dark times, his needs must be accommodated if any kind of trade was going to go through. I can’t imagine Pierce would want to pack up his 15+ year life in Boston and play anywhere else unless it’s pretty much a guaranteed title shot.
It’s another disheartening and gut wrenching blow to a Celtics team just trying to grind out another year with what they have left. If you liked seeing rebounds, it may be tough second half of the season to watch.