NEWPORT, R.I. – After being out six months while recovering from back surgery, Celtics forward Jared Sullinger didn’t know what to expect heading into the first day of training camp here Tuesday. He was as curious about his performance as others were.
The test results came back pretty positive, too.
“Pleasantly surprised at his motor, because I thought it was pretty good,” coach Brad Stevens said.
Sullinger felt the same way: surprised.
“Yes, very. I didn’t think I was going to make it through practice,” he said. “Being six months off and then trying to get back in the swing of things, that’s really, really tough.”
Still, Sullinger said he’s “not even close” when it comes to his conditioning. “I’m nowhere near where I need to be,” he said.
He also said he’s “very rusty.” With what? “Everything,” he said. “Timing, footwork, where I need to be on the court, just trying to figure out what I can do. I had back surgery, now I’ve got to modify some things and see what I can do well.”
Sullinger, who played in 45 games his rookie season, did say that he trusts his back and is at the point where he can move without worrying that he might reinjure it.
“I passed that point, mentally, in August,” he said. “The first time I got back on the court, I was really nervous about moving, but now, I’m taking charges again, moving.”