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Jared Sullinger: Why Injuries Have Prevented Him From Reaching His Full Potential

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Jared Sullinger could have his jersey hanging in the rafters of the Garden one day. It’s a bold statement to make for someone whom has yet to play a full NBA season, but the potential for greatness is there. However, another injury has sidelined Sullinger for the reminder of the 2014-15 season, and once again his potential has been halted.

Sullinger was at the top of his class during his time at Ohio State. He was named to the AP All-American team for both his years  at the school. Sullinger was the main catalyst for the school’s impressive 32-2 season his freshman year, and the team’s Final Four appearance during his sophomore campaign.

While he was a dominant force in college, injuries slowed down Sullinger before his NBA career even began. Widely considered a lottery pick, Sullinger fell to the Boston Celtics with the 21st overall selection due to red flags regarding his back. However, that didn’t stop Sullinger from competing, as he had a modest rookie season, which included his first double double on November 17, 2012.

His rookie season wouldn’t go unscathed, as Sullinger’s injury past would catch up to him. He was forced to miss the rest of the 2012-13 season due to back injuries after only 45 games played.

He was able to bounce back his second season with a 13.3 point and 8.1 rebound year. The telling sign of the season was he managed to play in 74 of the Celtics 82 games.

Sullinger was having a career year during his third season, which is why it’s so sad to see the injuries creeping back on him. The 2014-15 season will only see Sullinger play in 51 games with averages of 14.4 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Always known as a relatively heavy set individual, the former Ohio State big man knows he must change his ways to be a force in the NBA, something he stated to CSNNE.com.

“Change the physique. Change the way I look, that’s the biggest thing. We’re gonna find the ways to get me in the best shape possible.”

“I got in better shape. (last summer) There’s another level. There’s always another level to everything. I just have to take it to another level.”

The Boston Celtics have big plans for Jared Sullinger. The team is severely lacking a presence in the front court. That was something Sullinger brought to the team, a big physical force that could spread the floor and make the big play.

It’s too early to say if we have seen the best of Jared Sullinger. Many players have overcome injuries early in their career and have become cornerstones of their respective team’s. While it might be premature to say Sullinger is going to be amongst the Celtics great players, there is still a lot of basketball left to be played in his young NBA career.

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