Back Injury Sidelines Jared Sullinger for Remainder of Rookie Season with Celtics

By 11W Staff on February 1, 2013 at 3:49p
Jared Sullinger's rookie season is over, thanks to a back injury

Jared Sullinger's promising rookie campaign with the Boston Celtics is over.

After the forward missed practice Thursday with back spasms, Celtics coach Doc Rivers told the media that Sullinger was "50-50" to play in Friday's game against the Orlando Magic, going as far as saying, "I'm not that concerned. Can he miss games here or there? He may, but it's not anything [long-term] or anything like that."

Hours later, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports broke the news that Sullinger's back would require surgery and that his season was over.

Sullinger, no stranger to back problems, also missed time during his sophomore season at Ohio State for issues related to back spasms.

When he underwent a physical prior to the NBA Draft, doctors raised questions about his career path after discovering problems, causing him to fall out of the lottery. Boston chose him with the No. 21 overall pick.

Sullinger's 2012-13 NBA Statistics
45 19.82 6.0 49.3% 74.6% 5.9 0.8 0.5 0.5

Sullinger looked to be a steal. He averaged six points and six rebounds in 20 minutes per game. The Celtics are 22-23 and occupy the eighth-seed in the East. But combined with a season-ending injury to point guard Rajon Rondo, they could now be on the outs in terms of the playoffs. 

Sullinger's best game of the season came against Brooklyn on Christmas Day, when he finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.


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BuckeyeChief's picture

#$%& "!!!!!!

that sucks.

"2014 National with it!!!"

dubjayfootball90's picture

this is terrible, just a nagging injury from college, wasn't it?
I hope this surgery does wonders for him man, too early in his career and he was doing awesome.
Get well soon, Sully!!!! Take rehab seriously and come back stronger than ever

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Poison nuts's picture

Well there's a shitty gray box.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

RedStorm45's picture

I don't see a box, but then again most of what I get through work is filtered anyway.

Poison nuts's picture

Started as a grey box - is now a full story...I think.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

RedStorm45's picture

I was going to say, if there's a grey box for every major injury to a former Buckeye then there would be a lot of grey boxes.

bhartman13's picture

This really is terrible news.  I sure hope this isn't the start of many future back injuries for the big man.  I never truly believed all of the "red flag" reports prior to the draft but it looks like they are true.  I sure hope he has a quick recovery and the good news is Sully will have plenty of time to get healthy before the start of the next season.

Matt's picture

As someone with disc injuries myself, this is unsurprising to me.  An injury of that nature is something you never fully recover from, and back surgery isn't terribly effective to repair the issue, either.  At its core it's a degenerative condition, and only having the capacity to restore the integrity of the disc would address the issue.  It's not like an ACL tear, which can be surgically repaired so that the knee is as strong, if not arguably stronger than it was before.  Regrowing the disc might be a possibility with stem cell therapy, which is currently underresearch, but it won't be in time for Sully.

Buckifan4Life's picture

To expand on your statements, being a big man works against you when recovering from back surgery. I am a veteran of 3 of them. I finally had an artificial disc replacement at two levels with the newest generation prosthesis which aren't available here in the US. Had to go out of the country... I digress. Anyway, a fusion of the lumbar is quite different than on in the cervical (Peyton Manning) when it comes to athletes. Hopefully he wouldn't have to endure that type of invasive surgery. Sully may have difficulty getting this devil off his back and limiting his NBA career. That doesn't mean he cant be one of the lucky ones. I hope he is.

Michael Citro's picture

Really awful news. He was having a pretty good rookie year. As a Celtics fan, this hurts pretty bad on the heels of Rondo's knee injury.


RedStorm45's picture

He was leading the entire NBA in +/- recently, not sure if he's dropped out of that top spot or not.

buckeyefanatic's picture

THIS ^^^
Totally bummed, get well soon Sully. 

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L-TownNut11's picture

Im sure it has to do with having one leg shorter than the other.  That HAS got to mess with your back.....

osu07asu10's picture

I've got a slightly shorter leg and it does a number on your back, especially when you're as big and athletic as Jared is. I hope he can get it under control and it doesn't hamper him throughout his career

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osu07asu10's picture


CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Killer nuts's picture

That's a good point 

osu07asu10's picture

GREY box...ugh

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Grey box!!!....oh wait, I thought this would be important....

EDIT: Basketball is a second tier sport...thanks for downvoting opinions....have a nice day

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UrbanCulture's picture

An injury to one of the best Buckeye BBaller's in history is important to me. Once a Buckeye always a Buckeye. Sullinger was one hell of a Buckeye.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Fair doesn't mean much to me at all really. Was expecting this to be news about Bell apologies

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EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Sucks. Back injuries are unforgiving.

D. Anthony's picture

Hate to say it but those NBA team docs knew what they were talking about...Sully is my favorite Buckeye b-baller and we've all been able to follow his career going back to his high school freshman year and earlier. Great player, great kid and family but sadly a high risk draft pick...hope he can over come this and still be an NBA star. 

D. Anthony

bostonbuckeye's picture

As a buckeye fan this sucks. As a Celtics fan...this double sucks.   Hopefully he recovers quickly and returns stronger.

WiliestBuckeye's picture

Hopefully he comes back stronger than ever. I don't want people to start pointing at talented OSU big men and think injury prone.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

Michael Citro's picture

ESPN's Chris Forsberg is reporting that Sully's lumbar disc surgery was successful and that he is expected to be ready for the start of the 2013-14 training camp.

okiebuck's picture

Really sucks; he was just coming on starting to play good b-ball.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

German Buckeye's picture

Wonder what the Boston media is going to say - they can be pretty harsh. 

Jhesse17's picture

It's really too bad both for him and for my beloved Cs. But everybody in Boston loves Sullinger for his blue collar game and his work ethic. His game and personality really fit the city. I wouldn't worry about the Boston media at all.

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

It is a tough media, along with Philly, but unless they're watching different games than I've seen, they would have to see that Sully has been the most consistent guy lately outside of Rondo. Having said that and knowing the Pats aren't playing this weekend, they're going to be crying. Bad two weeks in Beantown.

onetwentyeight's picture

Don't know how much it will help him, as Big men + back issues historically have never been a good combo in the NBA, but can't help but think if he lost 20-25 pounds during this rehab period it would really ease the future strain on his back and body overall.
I'm not a medical professional by any means; just an observation from a basketball watching junkie. 

Dougger's picture

Get better soon Jared. 

I like football

buckeye4life050233's picture

I'm sure his style of play below the rim lead to this as well.....not being able to get up higher than others people throughout college and even in the nba learned you just drape your arms over him and put your full weight against his body....they can't call a foul every time......

CowCat's picture

It sucks to see some of our best players get sidelined by injury just as they're getting paid.   They bring our school to the top tier of the game, then ... ouch.
Hopefully Sully won't have as many setbacks as Oden.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

osubuckeye4life's picture

This sucks and Sully was really starting to gel with this team. Rehab and come back stronger next year Sully!