Jared Sullinger limped out of last night's game after playing only four minutes as a starter. He's been dealing with back issues for the last couple of weeks, but this is the first time it's affected him on the court.
The good news is, he was trying to get back in the game last night, but with a 20+ point lead, it wasn't necessary. Here's Doc this morning on WEEI:
"Don't know. That's going to be a day-to-day thing, maybe for a while. Guys, if you've had back problems and you start having spasms, sometimes you wake up in the morning and they're gone and sometimes they get worse. So I just think that's something we have to wait and see."
Of course, the bad news is that the injury that red-flagged him during the draft has finally caught up with him. Here's how his dad addressed the bulging disc issue after NBA team doctors tested him at the combine:
"He had a bulging area that was due to his hamstring and quads being so tight," Satch Sullinger told ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz in a phone call Monday afternoon. "It pulled on his hip flexor and he's been taking care of it to loosen it. You can call it a red flag if you want. But it's tight hamstring and tight quads. He's been to doctors, he's doing yoga and deep tissue massage. The flexibility is helping take the pressure off the area.
"We've got nothing to hide. At this stage it's all about what they can't do. Jared is a skilled player. A two-time All-American. He can play."
It's that red flag that allowed the Celtics to get him at #21 rather than him come off the board as a lottery pick. Right now, it's unclear whether there's any inflammation with a disc or if it's just a matter of wear-and-tear on a 20-year-old body that isn't used to playing in the grind out schedule of the NBA. From my WebMD knowledge of back spasms, there simply muscle cramps reacting towards some sort of stress in the body. Only Ed Lacerte knows the answer.
The real question is long term. In the summer, Sullinger likened his game to Kevin Love and hoped to have the same career trajectory as the Minnesota power forward. Love shed a lot of weight between his rookie and sophomore seasons and if Sully follows that path, that will help his back tremendously. But in the immediate, the C's have a fairly light schedule before and after the All-Star break and with Jared getting snubbed for the Rising Stars game, he'll have a lot of time to get some rest.