Missing In Action, Are the Boston Celtics Better With Star Players Injured?
Though Rajon Rondo‘s injury may be looked at by many as a crushing loss to the already struggling Boston Celtics, they have surprisingly won ten out of their last eleven games, and team chemistry has seemed to come together quite nicely.
In the course of those eleven games, the Celtics have lost two other key contributors to season ending injuries. The first being Jared Sullinger; the 20-year old who was taken number 21 overall in the 2012 draft out of Ohio State. Talent-wise, he could have been a top-five pick; health wise, not so much. He was unfortunately red-flagged by NBA medical staff because of his frequent back issues. This “issue” is what caused him to fall in the hands of head coach Doc Rivers.
It hasn’t been the smoothest ride for Sullinger and the Celtics, but it has definitely been a ride worth taking. In 45 games, Sully has been able to post 6.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 0.5 BLKPG. For a rookie coming off the bench, these were acceptable numbers and were worth a chance at stardom starting over the struggling Brandon Bass. Unfortunately, stardom means more playing time, which took a tally on Sullinger’s back and caught the eye of Boston’s medical staff.
Though it didn’t need immediate attention, the Celtics wanted to play it safe and shut down Sully for the rest of the season, willingly helping him pack his bags for a trip to surgery. As all reports have indicated, that surgery had gone well, but only time will tell what will be of Jared Sullinger’s career.
Despite this loss to the line up, the Celtics continued to push the tempo and keep the momentum on their side, until another heart stopping injury occurred. This time to veteran guard Leandro Barbosa. Signing with the Celtics this past off season, Barbosa was brought in to provide a valuable spark coming off the bench. With increased playing time, he was able to do just that. Averaging 5.2 PPG, 1.4 APG and 1.1 RPG, Barbosa was looked at as the perfect antidote to breaking down opposing defenses. Though it worked for awhile, all things have to come to an end.
Down by five in the closing seconds of the third quarter, Barbosa drove to the basket but appeared to have landed awkwardly on his left leg. It was later reported that he tore his ACL and was out for the year.
Anyone else want to end their season? That is the question the Celtics must be asking themselves, as bad luck has consistently come their way. With three players MIA, should Boston panic and make a drastic roster change right before the trade deadline, or focus on the task at hand?
With rumors surrounding the Celtics possibly acquiring guard Shelvin Mack and big man Greg Oden, time will only tell. Stay tuned.