Boston Celtics rookie forward Jared Sullinger was in the midst of an excellent first year campaign before a nagging back injury derailed his season and forced him to have surgery. He only played half a season with the team, and his loss was a painful one as he was really coming along before the injury. He is a tenacious rebounder and was starting to find a niche in the rotation, even starting a small handful of games for head coach Doc Rivers. The Celtics missed him in the playoffs as they had to shorten their rotation, in particular in the front court as Rivers could only rely on three players to give him solid and productive minutes. Paul Pierce even had to play the four position when Rivers went with smaller lineups.
Sullinger figures to be fully healed and ready to go for next season. The back injury was the main reason he fell to the Celtics in last June’s NBA Draft in the first place. He arguably would have been a top five pick (at least top ten) before injury concerns damaged his stock. The Celtics were happy to take him, but they knew that his back was gimpy. If the injury concerns are behind him, Sullinger can be a really good player and can start for the team for the foreseeable future. There is no reason that he can’t become a Carlos Boozer type player with more development. Why can’t Sullinger be at least a 10-10 guy in his prime?
Sullinger showed glimpses of promise in his first season, and the Celtics hope his injury history is completely behind him.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news go to the team home page on Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @rlunder18