BOSTON -- Boston Celtics rookie forward Jared Sullinger underwent back surgery Friday to repair a lumbar disk and will miss the remainder of the season, the team announced.
He is expected to be ready for the start of the team's 2013-14 training camp later this year.
Sullinger, red-flagged before June's draft because of back issues, had been experiencing soreness before spasms chased him from Wednesday's win over the Sacramento Kings after four minutes of play. After undergoing tests on Thursday, the decision was made to fix the problem rather than attempt to manage the pain the rest of the season.
"We knew this could happen. We knew it a month before the draft that this could happen and at some point it probably would happen," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "We were hoping it would be a summer thing, rather than the middle of the season, but it happened now. He was playing great and the good news is we know he can play. We know he'll be a very good player and, in the long run, this will make him healthier."
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge admitted the news that Sullinger would require surgery came as a bit of a surprise, particularly on the heels of Sunday's news that Rajon Rondo had been lost for the season due to an ACL tear. But the team had braced itself for potential issues with Sullinger's back.
"I don't think it's out of the blue. He's been having some soreness," Ainge said. "I guess the fact that he had season-ending surgery was out of the blue. I don't think anybody thought that four or five days ago, but I think it's the best thing for Jared."
Later Ainge added: "The doctors feel like this is a great thing for Jared long term and that it's just frustrating that it hurts us here and now. In the long run, this is the best thing for Jared in his career."
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(Note: This story was updated from an earlier version.)