Rivers Discusses Sullinger's Back Spasms

WALTHAM, Mass. – Back spasms caused Jared Sullinger to leave Wednesday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings after just four minutes of playing time. Sullinger did not return to the game after originally being deemed likely to resume playing.


Jared Sullinger left Wednesday's game after just four minutes of playing time.
Steve Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

The Celtics made it through the contest just fine thanks to Brandon Bass’ re-emergence, but Sullinger’s back was a blemish on Boston’s otherwise phenomenal night. It’s no secret that Sullinger slipped in the 2012 NBA Draft due to back issues. Now the Celtics are hoping that it doesn’t cause him to slide out of their lineup for a lengthy period of.

“No, I’m not that concerned,” said Rivers. “Can he miss games, like I said yesterday? He may. But it’s not anything career-threatening or anything like that.”

Breathe a sigh of relief, Boston. Your prized rookie seems to be OK.

Original reports last night were that Sullinger was experiencing back spasms. The conspiracy theorist would argue that such a term was possibly a cover up for a more serious issue. However, Rivers made it clear Thursday afternoon that this was, indeed, an episode of back spasms.

“Spasms, day-to-day, but nothing – I don’t think – bad,” Rivers said. “Just spasms.”

The term ‘back spasms’ is something that can be taken in many different ways. It often signals deeper issues, and Rivers admitted that on Thursday. He doesn’t expect these spasms to keep Sullinger out of the lineup for very long but he does acknowledge that back injuries are tricky.

“When you have a back (issue), you have a back (issue),” Rivers said. “It’s not one thing, it’s everything. When you have back spasms I’m sure it’s connected somehow to whatever his back problems were.”

Boston drafted Sullinger knowing that the big man was likely to experience some discomfort at points of his career. Rivers revealed on Thursday that be believes these flare-ups may be consistent.

“My guess is he plays with it every day,” Rivers said. “I keep saying, because I had a back injury my whole career, once you have a back you have a back. I injured it in college and you’re always conscious of it. It never goes away. You just have to play through the pain for your career.”

Sullinger apparently has been doing that while the C’s have been monitoring him. Still, Rivers’ comments made it sounds s if the rookie’s issues have somewhat sporadic.

“I don’t think about it much. Again, probably because I lived it,” said Rivers. “So you never know when. I think the other day he told (athletic trainer) Eddie (Lacerte), ‘I felt better.’ It’s just backs are temperamental. They do what they want.”

On Wednesday, Sullinger’s back wanted to flare up. The hope is that by 7:30 p.m. on Friday, it will want to return normal and allow Sullinger to play against the Orlando Magic.


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