This shouldn’t be a surprise.
Jared Sullinger — who if he had come out a year before had been talked about as a possible Top-5 pick — fell all the way down the draft board to the Celtics at No. 21 because teams had medical concerns. Which was fine with Boston, they grabbed him and he played well for them.
“The Celtics knew when they drafted him there was a certain level of risk that required surgery, as did several other teams,” said Falk. “Some teams treated it like he was going to have a heart attack or something. [The Celtics’] Brian McKeon is one of the most confident team doctors I’ve ever dealt with. There were so secrets, nobody was trying to hide any facts. There was a possibility that he could require surgery, but the recovery time is less than an ACL.”
“Jared’s 20 years old, to try to take a short-term risk could jeopardize his career long term. Having surgery was the most appropriate response,” Falk said. “Had he tried to continue to play and aggravate it six or eight weeks down the road, he would have missed the playoffs and the start of the season. It was a calculated decision.”
As I’ve said before, what teams were concerned with in drafting Sullinger was a Brandon Roy-like situation where five years in suddenly he just can’t go anymore because his situation became debilitating.
Hopefully that is not the case. Hopefully he bounces back from this surgery next season and keeps playing like he has. But Falk is right, it’s not like the Celtics went into this situation with their eyes closed — they knew but at pick 21 thought the risk was worth it.