Boston Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger is going to miss the remainder of the season due to a back injury that will require surgery, according to reports.
This is just the latest blow to the Celtics, who lost All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to an ACL injury just five days ago. The news about Sullinger is less shocking if not less unfortunate. He was viewed as a possible top 10 pick in the last NBA draft before sliding after his back issues were red flagged by several team doctors.
It is truly a shame, too, because Sullinger was having an exceptional rookie campaign. The 6-9 power forward was averaging 6 points and 5.9 rebounds in just under 20 minutes per game so far this year. On a per-36-minute basis that equals 10.9 points and 10.7 rebounds. He was also getting better, getting more minutes and more offensive responsibility every month.
Sullinger's back issues were just one of the hotly debated points around Detroit Bad Boys prior to the NBA draft as fans anguished over who the Pistons should take. Many pointed out that Sullinger's production pointed to a high likelihood that he would succeed in the NBA (a point that has proven true, I might add). When you're as close to a sure thing as it gets it is worth the risk even with the medical issues, the argument went.
That is when there were vehement disagreements over the likes of Harrison Barnes, Sullinger, Meyers Leonard, John Henson and others. We ended up with Andre Drummond, of course, and might have the next Shaq on our hands. Sometimes things just work out for the best.
Sadly, it seems Sullinger's red flags have come to pass. Hopefully, this is not a recurring problem throughout his career and he can get past this and back onto the court next season.
But one team's pain could be another team's gain -- in this case the Detroit Pistons.
Of course, the last time I said that was after Rondo was injured and I wondered if Detroit could make a playoff push. I even labeled a game preview "Detroit's playoff run begins Tuesday night."
The Pistons were subsequently dismantled by the Milwaukee Bucks to the tune of 117-90.
Of course in the subsequent days the Pistons traded for their first legitimate point guard since Chauncey Billups and optimism reigns once again!
So what do you think? Do the Pistons have a legitimate shot of leap-frogging both the Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers? The Pistons currently sit 5.5 games behind Boston for the No. 8 playoff spot.