Jared Sullinger came down funny after a rebound early against Sacramento Jan. 30. The rookie forward’s back went out. That next morning, he was in excruciating pain and could barely walk.
Doctors didn’t give him an option; they told him he’d have back surgery and miss the rest of the season. And he was OK with that.
“It was a sigh of relief, to get it over with, to get everybody out of my face about my back,” Sullinger said in his first public comments since the surgery.
His back condition had raised red flags during the 2012 draft, and that was partly why he fell to the Celtics late in the first round. But Sullinger said doctors told him his back should be “good for the rest of my life.”
Sullinger, who was averaging 6 points and 5.9 rebounds, didn’t expect to have surgery this soon. Maybe in two or three years, but not now. However, when he tweaked it against Sacramento, that timeline went out the window.
For now, Sullinger said, he is spending his time on Twitter and video games. He plans to get a chef and a nutritionist to help keep him fit. He said he doesn’t know what his rehabilitation will be like.
“I’m kind of letting my doctors tell me what I can do now,” he said. “We have all the time in the world.”
Sullinger said he expects to be ready by next season. And he said this surgery will make him better down the line.
“Because with the back problems, I had limitations,” he said. “The doctor told me with the two disks being herniated, it was only making my legs weaker. Hopefully that’s a sign that I might be able to get off the ground more than 2 inches.”