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Friday, February 1, 2013

Sullinger says back injury, not All-Star snub is biggest concern

On the day Jared Sullinger received what his teammates considered a snub, when the Celtics rookie was left off the roster for the Rising Stars Challenge for top rookies and second-year players, on All-Star weekend, something far more serious emerged.

Sullinger, whose slide in last June’s draft was spurred by a history of back trouble, left last night’s 99-81 win over Sacramento in the first quarter with back spasms. ...

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On the day Jared Sullinger received what his teammates considered a snub, when the Celtics rookie was left off the roster for the Rising Stars Challenge for top rookies and second-year players, on All-Star weekend, something far more serious emerged.

Sullinger, whose slide in last June’s draft was spurred by a history of back trouble, left last night’s 99-81 win over Sacramento in the first quarter with back spasms.

His status is considered day-to-day, though as Doc Rivers later let on, Sullinger has been fighting spasms for at least a week.

“I know Eddie (Lacerte, the trainer) said something a week or two ago that it’s been bothering him, and I think this will be what will happen,” the C’s coach said of the problem. “He’ll have these episodes and we’ve got to get him through it. Hopefully he doesn’t miss games with them, but if he does he does. And then get it right and come back. But I’m not sure if it was before the game or not.”

Sullinger left the locker room without talking. As far as his
Rising Stars snub goes, though, the rookie was at least outwardly unaffected.

“Not a disappointment,” he said. “My focus is the Boston Celtics. I don’t worry about individual goals. It would have been nice, but at the same time it gives me a chance to rest up. All of our roles are about to be bigger. It’s going to give me time to get ready for the second half of the season. I can rest up and learn.”

Nor was Rivers bothered. He probably wants as many of his players to get some rest for the post-All-Star break stretch run, too.

“Yeah, it’s a surprise, and I’m really concerned with all of that stuff,” the Celtics coach said with a laugh. “Listen, he’ll make it eventually, maybe not (in that game), but he’ll be in the league a long time, and he’ll be happy with that in the long run.”

Kevin Garnett hopes that Sullinger can use the snub to his advantage.

“That’s a shock,” said Garnett. “Hopefully that creates a monster within him, and it doesn’t do anything but encourage him.”

Lee debunks report

Courtney Lee said that he’s mystified by a recent report by Grantland.com’s Zach Lowe, who said that, according to a source, the Celtics guard was not happy in Boston, and was upset with Rondo’s tendency to dribble the ball while setting up the offense.

Lee tweeted a rebuttal, and expanded on his problem with the report.

“Not true at all,” Lee said. “And what else did (Lowe) say? That I hated playing with Rondo because he dribbled too much, and this and that? These last two weeks I was the one going in and (relieving) Rondo. I was backing him up. So I don’t know who his source is, or if there even is a source, what he was thinking with that.”

Lee said he has never been in contact with Lowe.

“I have no idea who that is,” he said. “I got a call from my brother and he said, ‘There’s an article about you bashing Rondo and not wanting to be in Boston.’ I was like, ‘That’s the first I ever heard of something like that.’ So the first thing I wanted to do was tweet it, since everyone gets their information these days by social media, and it spreads rapidly.”

Thomas: Watch Bradley

Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas grew up with Avery Bradley in Tacoma, Wash., and believes that Celtics fans are about to be let in on a little known aspect of the Celtics guard’s game.

Without Rondo running the offense, Thomas predicts that fans will realize that Bradley’s game isn’t limited to the defensive side of the ball.

“He does have a lot to show, and he’s going to show a lot more than he’s shown,” Thomas said. “He’s in a role with Rondo to defend and cut, and things like that. But he can shoot it and make plays for others. I think you’re going to see for the rest of the season the total package of what he can bring to a team. He really can shoot, especially when his feet are set. I’ve even asked him, ‘How did you get your mid-range game? It’s so good.’ And he told me he just keeps working at it. So he’s going to keep showing people what he’s capable.”