Jared Sullinger injury: Boston Celtics forward likens himself to 'The Lion King' character Simba, expected to be healthy come training camp
Very rarely, one must assume, does the same Disney children's movie inspire popular rap songs and motivate a Boston Celtics power forward during his quest to recover from a season-ending back injury.
But J. Cole has named two of his songs after 'The Lion King' character Simba, and Jared Sullinger told CSNNE's Jessica Camerato he has watched the same animated flick several times since undergoing lumbar disc surgery in February.
"I've watched 'The Lion King' four times (since surgery)," said Sullinger, who has been cleared for physical activities and is expected to be ready by training camp, according to Camerato. "Rafiki the monkey makes me laugh. It was a family movie when I was growing up. I like it because it teaches you you can always overcome. I'm like Simba."
The Simba comparison doesn't work perfectly here, since that would be relatng a man's back surgery to the death of a cartoon lion's uncle, and rehabilitation from the aforementioned surgery to Simba's return to his lion civilization in order to overthrow his dangerous and corrupt uncle, Scar. But if we can expand the metaphor to label Jordan Crawford as Timon and Brandon Bass as Pumbaa, and somehow convince Kevin Garnett to sing 'Hakuna Matata', I'm all for it.
Sullinger told Camerato he needed to wait nine weeks from the surgery before he could begin working out, and that he was "pretty much on bed rest" during that time. Now, he's back in the gym and has been working on planks and pelvic tilts to increase his core and back strength.
Sullinger has continued to use Garnett as a mentor, developed a tight relationship with injured teammate Rajon Rondo during rehab and believes he'll be healthy during his second season.
That would be crucial for the Celtics, since Sullinger was their best rebounder before going down and always seemed to make a positive impact. If Simba doesn't catch on as a nickname, we could consider calling Sullinger the Prince of Plus-Minus, since the Celtics were 4.2 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court.
"I was trying to find my niche (my rookie year). I was on an incline, then I got hurt," Sullinger told Camerato. "I have a back now, so I don't know, we'll see."
He has a back now. Good news.