By Ben Golliver
The Celtics have signed forward Jarvis Varnado, filling the roster spot created by the abrupt departure of Darko Milicic and potentially plugging a small rotation hole that resulted from a recent injury to Chris Wilcox.
Varnado, 24, joins the Celtics from the D-League's Sioux Falls Skyforce, with whom he averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game.
Yahoo! Sports, which first reported the signing, notes that the Celtics are opting to sign the former Mississippi State standout rather than call up 2012 first-round pick Fab Melo, who is on assignment with the D-League's Maine Red Claws.
The Boston Globe reports further details.
Varnado, 6-feet, 9-inches and 210 pounds, was the 41st overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, but never played a game in Miami. He played in Italy and Israel the past two seasons. The Celtics needed big man depth because center Chris Wilcox is expected to miss a month with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb.
Milicic signed with the Celtics as a free agent in September only to leave the team to return to Europe to be with his ailing mother after failing to carve out a spot in coach Doc Rivers' rotation. Wilcox injured his thumb during a Dec. 18 loss to the Bulls. He was averaging 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.3 minutes as Rivers' fifth big man. Varnado will join a rotation that includes starting big men Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass and reserves Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger. The Celtics (13-13) will visit Brooklyn on Tuesday to kick off the NBA's Christmas quintupleheader.