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Jared Sullinger is back

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In a surprise announcement, the Celtics have announced that Jared Sullinger is fully healed from his stress fracture that was supposed to sideline him for the rest of the season and will return tonight against the Bucks.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

From the press release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that Jared Sullinger's metatarsal stress fracture has healed completely and that he will be available for this evening's game at TD Garden against the Milwaukee Bucks.

"We are excited that Jared's recovery progressed quicker than initially expected," said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. "Jared was extremely diligent in his rehab, repeatedly expressing his eagerness to help our team reach the postseason. He will be available in a limited role this weekend as he works his way back to 100 percent game shape."

According to Brad Stevens, Sully hasn't done any 5-on-5 work and will be limited this weekend.  What could Sullinger provide off the bench?  He's another stretch big that will join Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko, Jae Crowder, and Isaiah Thomas.  Offensively, he should fit in just fine slotting in as a the de facto center, but Stevens has stressed the defensive DNA of this team and with Jared's return, said that the team won't sacrifice it's "defensive versatility." Sullinger hasn't exactly been a defensive stalwart, but if he can be the rebounding force that he was pre-injury, he could definitely help the playoff push.  Sullinger ranks 19th in contested rebounding percentage, ahead of guys like Anthony Davis and DeAndre Jordan.  With that bench mob gunning from outside, he could provide a valuable source of extra possessions and second chance points.

UPDATE:

The Herald's Mark Murphy caught up with Danny Ainge and the Celtics' president shared his thoughts on Sully's return:

The Celtics have only seven games left in the regular season, and as such, Ainge doesn't expect Sullinger to return to his normal minutes load. It's also not a certainty that Celtics coach Brad Stevens will actually play Sullinger tonight against the Bucks.

But Ainge said management has been assured by the Celtics medical staff that Sullinger will not be put in harm's way if he does resume playing.

"We're not putting him at risk," said Ainge. "The first sign of him having an issue, like soreness, we will shut him down again. But this wasn't a case of him having surgery. A good test is the fact that he's been running and going through workouts."

Ainge also reiterated the importance of Sullinger losing weight to be more effective for the rest of his career.  In Jackie Mac's piece two weeks ago, she reported that Sully had lost 10-15 pounds since going on the shelf February 11th.  In his recovery, he's been vigilant to keep the weight off and tonight, it's possible that he could be -20 off the alluded to 300 lbs. the Celtics suspected he was at this season.  The Bucks are super athletic on their front line, so tonight's a good test for the slim downed Sullinger.