Sullinger Says He Expects To Play on Friday

WALTHAM, Mass. – Jared Sullinger and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said on Thursday that they expect Sullinger to play Friday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Sullinger missed Wednesday night’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats as he recovered from a bruised right knee. He injured the knee during Monday’s win over Orlando and did not return to the court until Thursday’s light practice in Waltham, Mass.

Jared Sullinger layup against Orlando

Jared Sullinger scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds Monday night against Orlando, but he also suffered a right knee bruise that kept him out of Wednesday's game.
Alex Trautwig/NBAE/Getty Images

“He didn’t do anything that would be able to tell me if he’s 100 percent or anything,” Stevens said of Sullinger’s participation in practice. “We just walked through.

“I guess you always wait until tomorrow, but from everything I’ve been told and from everything I gather, he was ready to go today.”

Sullinger was a bit more definitive when he stated, "I plan on going tomorrow night."

News broke at about 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday that Sullinger would not play against the Bobcats. The Celtics waited it out as long as possible to see if he could recover in time to play, but Sullinger realized quickly that he needed at least another day to heal.

“It was just tough for me to land and jump confidently,” he said, “so I just decided to sit the night out last night and hopefully get another day of rest and try to get this knee back where it needs to be.”

Sullinger said that the injury occurred during the first half of Monday’s game, when Maurice Harkless crashed into him under the basket. Sullinger played the rest of the game but woke up on Tuesday with an unexpected surprise.

“The next morning, swelling and soreness kind of creeped up on me,” he said.

Luckily for Sullinger and the Celtics, the injury has consistently improved over the past 48 hours.

“Tuesday I woke up really stiff. It was really stiff and it was swollen,” Sullinger explained. “As the days go on, the swelling and the soreness is starting to evaporate.”

The injury evaporated Sullinger’s impact from the Celtics for Wednesday night’s game. Boston scored just 38 points in the paint and sent the Bobcats to the line for 30 free throw attempts. Sullinger watched the game from afar and believes that he could have rectified those issues had he been on the floor.

“[The Bobcats] really outplayed us, their energy. They played really hard yesterday,” he said. “I just felt like I could have matched their toughness, matched their energy and hopefully picked the team up.”

There’s no sense in wondering how things would have been had Sullinger played on Wednesday night. That game is in the past and it has been deposited into Boston’s loss column. All we need to do now is hope that Sullinger’s expected return on Friday will help the Celtics return to the winner’s circle.