Boston rookie Jared Sullinger, whose stock recovered from one of the worst pre-NBA Draft falls to rebound for one of its most surprising seasons, is now out for the rest of the season after needing surgery on his back. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news and CBS’s Ken Berger has confirmed it. Barely a week after losing Rajon Rondo to torn knee ligaments for the season, Sullinger is gone, too. You’ll remember that questions about Sullinger’s back caused him to fall from a Lottery pick to No. 21 last June, a deal that seemed to be working better than ever recently when Sullinger became a part of the team’s starting lineup. It turns out injuries to younger players will be the Celtics’ downfall instead of its aging core of stars.
Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger will miss the rest of the season with a back injury, league sources tell Y! Sports. He will need surgery.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 1, 2013
The obvious question: Who fills his role? As the Celtics’ (22-23) eighth man Sullinger was used most often in a Jason Terry-Courtney Lee-Jeff Green-Sully-Kevin Garnett rotation, and all his top three most-used lineups included protection from Garnett playing center to Sullinger’s power forward. Sullinger wasn’t a classic four himself, but the options for replacement aren’t any more ideal with Chris Wilcox or Brandon Bass looking to eat the minutes Sullinger had. Minutes are one thing and skills are another and Sullinger’s great aspect was his ability to distribute the ball, increasing the Celtics’ corner and above-the-break three-point percentages by three and nine percentage points, respectively (via NBA.com statistics).
Who fills his minutes for Boston?
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