BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger played just four minutes in Boston’s 99-81 win over the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night, leaving in the first quarter with back spasms.
It was originally announced that Sullinger was likely to return, but icing his back did not work and the rookie forward now finds himself day-to-day.
“I know he was trying to get back on the floor,” head coach Doc Rivers said after the win. “I don’t know if that’s bad. But when you have spasms, they last. We’ll just see; he’s day-to-day.”
Back issues raised red flags on Sullinger back in June prior to the NBA draft, which is why he dropped to the Celtics with the 21st pick.
While this is the first back issue that has sidelined Sullinger this season, Rivers said it has been a lingering issue for the last few weeks.
“I know [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] said something a week or two ago, it’s been bothering him,” said Doc. “I think this is what he’ll have. He’ll have these episodes. We gotta get him through it. Hopefully he doesn’t miss games with them. But if he does, he does. He’s going to get right and come back.”
In Sullinger’s absence, forward Brandon Bass stepped up to fill the void. Relegated to the bench due to Sullinger’s recent emergence, Bass scored 12 points and pulled down four rebounds in nearly 38-minutes of play against the Kings.
“It was big for him, so, yes, I was very happy for him,” Rivers said of Bass’ performance. “Sometimes you just need to see the ball go in the net, and once he did that, then a couple times you could see him get more aggressive.”
Bass started 33 games this season until finding his way to the bench in favor of Sullinger, and will likely find himself back in the starting five should Sullinger miss more time with his back issues.