will reportedly undergo season-ending back surgery. (J. Dennis/Einstein, Getty Images)
By Ben Golliver
Celtics rookie forward Jared Sullinger will reportedly undergo back surgery that will end his 2012-13 season.
Yahoo! Sports reported Friday that Sullinger, the No. 21 pick in the 2012 draft, will see his season end after 45 appearances in which he averaged 6 points and 5.9 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game. CBSSports.com confirmed the outlook.
Sullinger played just four minutes in Boston's 99-81 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday and he did not participate in the Celtics' Thursday practice.
The Boston Globe reported Thursday that Celtics coach Doc Rivers referred to Sullinger's injury as "spasms" and indicated that he didn't expect Sullinger to miss a significant period of time.
“I’m not that concerned. Can he miss games here or there? He may, but it’s not anything [long-term] or anything like that.
“My guess is he plays with it every day. I keep saying, because I had a back injury my whole career, once you have a back, you have a back. It never goes away. You just have to play through it.”
This is the second big blow for the Celtics in less than a week, as All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was lost for the season after he tore the ACL in his right knee. Boston currently sits in the East's No. 8 spot with a record of 22-23.
Rivers will need to make do with a big-man rotation that includes Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox and Jason Collins.
Sullinger, 20, was regarded as a top-five pick at times during his two-year stint at Ohio State, but he plummeted down the board in last year's draft after an ESPN.com report
indicated that his back had been medically red flagged by multiple team doctors. At the time
, Sullinger's agent, David Falk, attributed the concerns about Sullinger's back to his client's "extremely tight hamstrings."