BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge showed his support for forward Jared Sullinger on Tuesday, and is confident the 21-year-old has learned from his recent arrest for assault and battery.
Sullinger was charged with assault and battery, destruction of property and witness intimidation after an altercation with his girlfriend on August 31. He turned himself into police and pleaded not guilty to the charges on September 3, and has since sought counseling. His girlfriend does not want to press chargers, but Sullinger is due back in court for a second pretrial hearing on October 28 — two days before the Celtics open their 2013-14 season in Toronto.
Ainge said that Sullinger has been working out with the team and is expected to be present when Training Camp begins next week.
“Jared will be in training camp, he’s in our facility working out everyday,” Ainge told reporters at the Shamrock Foundation’s sixth annual Teeing Up for Kids Golf Tournament at Wollaston Golf Club — according to ESPNBoston.com. “I think he’s taking care of everything in the exact right way that he should. I think Jared is a good kid. And he’s a good Celtic. And he’s a guy that we have big hopes for. We don’t think he’s done anything so wrong that he shouldn’t be part of our team today.”
“I don’t think it would be a distraction for Jared now, just because he knows the story. He knows, and someday you guys will,” Ainge said. “But just because of the legal proceedings, it can’t be publicized and he can’t talk about it. I think he’s comfortable with where he is and what he needs to work on, and who he needs to apologize to.”
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The Celtics drafted Sullinger in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft out of Ohio State. He played in 45 games last season as a rookie, including five starts, averaging 6.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He was settling in to his role with the team, but was sidelined with a back injury that required surgery, ending his rookie year in February.
With so much turnover over the off-season, Sullinger figures to play a major role on the new-look Celtics in 2013-14.