Friday, November 1, 2013
Sullinger anxious for season debut
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger spent Wednesday in the principal's office.
Serving a team-issued one-game suspension in connection with an alleged domestic-violence case, Sullinger watched Boston's season opener against the Raptors from the office of president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
During the game, Sullinger said that Ainge ranted at times like Celtics legend/color commentator Tommy Heinsohn, but couldn't complain much about Ainge's souped-up multiple-TV viewing experience (which included a couple screens dedicated to Game 6 of the World Series).
The harder part for Sullinger turned out to be watching his teammates struggle on the glass against Toronto. The Raptors utilized a staggering 19 offensive rebounds to generate 28 second-chance points en route to a 93-87 triumph. Sullinger cringed knowing he could have made a difference with his rebounding abilities.
"Rebounding is my forte," said Sullinger. "That’s what I pride myself on. So that really stood out, the rebounding."
Forgive Sullinger if he's itchy for game action. He's probably sick of watching these games on TV, especially because lumbar disk surgery curtailed his rookie campaign after 45 games last season. Sullinger even admitted that he'll likely have some butterflies before making his season debut in Boston's home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
"I'll definitely have a little bit of nerves," he said. "Especially coming off the back surgery. Now it’s the real deal. It’s everybody’s full squad, going head-to-head, so I’m a little nervous. But I think I’ll have confidence."
The Celtics picked up Sullinger's third-year option on Thursday, a bit of a no-brainer considering he's set to earn $1.4 million next season. Still, Sullinger appreciated the gesture.
"Honestly, it makes me feel comfortable knowing that even though [I endured] a lot of ups and downs this summer, that they’re still willing to work with me," said Sullinger. "It shows a lot of confidence upstairs, which also fuels confidence in me."
Sullinger had faced criminal charges of assault and battery, destruction of property, and witness intimidation in connection with an Aug. 31 incident with his girlfriend. Charges were dismissed Tuesday in Waltham District Court.