Sullinger surprised at his productive return

We have been hearing since media day about Jared Sullinger and the progress he needs to make with his weight before the start of the regular season. Sullinger did indeed look heavy last night, but he also played a great first game back. Since recovering from back surgery, Sullinger has been battling to get back into basketball shape. He has admitted to the media that he would like to lose more weight, but he has not seemed to lose any of his game.

Sullinger played 20 minutes Monday night against Toronto, posting a team leading +9 in overall +/-. Sully shot 5-11 for 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. Here are some quotes about Sully's surprising performance from Jay King's piece on
“Very (surprised),” he characterized himself after the outing. “I honestly thought it was the adrenaline taking over, and finally being able to put on a Celtic uniform and getting back out there.” Not so shocked was Sullinger’s head coach, Brad Stevens. “No, because he’s good,” said Stevens.
The former portion of the nickname (Overweight) remains a work in progress. When reporters huddled around Sullinger’s locker prior to the preseason opener against the Toronto Raptors, conversation quickly centered around his midsection. One scribe even mustered the audacity to ask the now-21-year old his weight. “That’s confidential,” he replied slyly, admitting he would like to lose between 10 and 15 pounds. “Just all that surgery weight.” Sullinger moved well despite the extra pounds, chasing down four offensive rebounds. During one 15-second flurry in the third quarter, he battled for two offensive boards, earned a double technical foul along with Toronto nuisance Tyler Hansbrough, and put back a Courtney Lee miss for a bucket.
Those 20 minutes included plenty of bumping and banging in the paint, an indication that Sullinger – as he claims – feels no hesitation putting his back into contact situations. “I was fine,” he said. “I’ve been taking charges, I’ve been getting hit by Kris Humphries the whole time in practice. If I can take a charge on Kris Humphries, a lot of these charges don’t mean a lot to me.” Perhaps it helped that he had a bit more cushion for the landing. Even when he cuts weight everywhere else, Sullinger wants to maintain a wide backside. “That’s one spot I need for the rebounding,” he smiled. “Everything else, just lose a little bit more.”
We'll see if Sullinger can keep it up on Wednesday night when the Celtics face the Knicks.

Source: Jay King of Masslive

Photo: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Follow Julian @BleedGreenBlogs