As the Celtics try to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff race, they will unfortunately be without starting power forward Jared Sullinger for the rest of the season, according to a press release from the team:
The Boston Celtics announced today that, following further medical evaluation at the New England Baptist Hospital, it was determined that forward Jared Sullinger has sustained a left metatarsal stress fracture and will be out for the remainder of the 2014-15 regular season.
This is a brutal piece of news for the Celtics, who are just one game back in the loss column from the eighth seed. Sullinger was having a nice season, averaging a career-high 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and making strides as a scorer.
The Celtics’ goals this season were never fully clear. Danny Ainge’s asset-based approach to roster construction would suggest they’ve been tanking, but Brad Stevens has been keeping them competitive in games and Ainge just traded for Isaiah Thomas. At 20-32, they’re closer to the playoffs than they are to the bottom of the standings and any real shot at a top-five draft pick. With how bad the Eastern Conference is, they might still make the playoffs. But the loss of Sullinger makes it that much harder, and they may unfortunately be trapped in no-man’s land, which is exactly what Ainge and the rest of Boston’s front office has worked to avoid.