MILTON, Mass. -- Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge chose his words carefully while addressing the domestic assault charges against second-year forward Jared Sullinger, but offered staunch support for the player.
The 21-year-old Sullinger is charged with assault and battery, destruction of property, and witness intimidation in connection with an Aug. 31 confrontation with his girlfriend. The woman accused Sullinger of pinning her to a bed and the floor at his Waltham home. Sullinger appeared in Waltham District Court on Monday for a pretrial hearing and is scheduled to return for a second pretrial session on Oct. 28.
Prosecutors said they intend to pursue domestic assault charges against Sullinger even though his accuser wants to drop the case.
"Jared will be in training camp, he’s in our facility working out everyday," said Ainge. "I think he’s taking care of everything in the exact right way that he should. I think Jared is a good kid. And he’s a good Celtic. And he’s a guy that we have big hopes for. We don’t think he’s done anything so wrong that he shouldn’t be part of our team today."
Ainge was mum on potential punishment, preferring to wait until the judicial process plays out. Ainge said he didn't think the situation would be a distraction for Sullinger entering the 2013-14 season.
"I don’t think it would be a distraction for Jared now, just because he knows the story. He knows, and someday you guys will," said Ainge. "But just because of the legal proceedings, it can’t be publicized and he can’t talk about it. I think he’s comfortable with where he is and what he needs to work on, and who he needs to apologize to."
Sullinger is due back in court two days before the start of the 2013-14 regular season. The Celtics visit the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 30.
Read on for more news and notes from the Shamrock Foundation's sixth annual Teeing Up for Kids Golf Tournament on Tuesday at Wollaston Golf Club.
* OLYNYK, FAVERANI AND PLANTAR FASCIITIS: Celtics rookie first-round pick Kelly Olynyk did not participate in the summer camp for the Canadian national men's team due to a lingering case of plantar fasciitis, but Ainge said the 13th overall pick is doing better as camp nears. "Kelly had some plantar fasciitis and a little back tightness," said Ainge. "But he’s fine now, he’s playing, he’s working out everyday. He should be fine for training camp." Another of Boston's rookies -- Brazilian center Vitor Faverani -- is also battling the painful foot inflammation. "Vitor’s been working hard," said Ainge. "He also has a little of plantar fasciitis, so he doesn’t do a lot of the extra conditioning. He does a lot where, he’s got his own conditioning, he doesn’t condition with the team as much. He has been playing, he’s a very talented player. And what we saw from Vitor, even before he got here, we have had no surprises."
* CENTER OF ATTENTION: Speaking of centers, Ainge admitted that Faverani is the only pure center on the roster, but said the Celtics will likely get creative at that spot. "I think you’ll see Kelly and Jared playing together," said Ainge. "Who’s the 4 and who’s the 5? I’m not sure it really matters. I think depending on who we are playing, and how we are playing, you could see Jared playing some 5, defensively. That’s an interesting combination, those two guys. And Vitor fits into that mix also, but I’m not sure who’s going to win those jobs."
* COMFY WITH ROSTER: Despite lingering logjams at the power forward and shooting guard positions, Ainge admitted he still likes the overall collection of talent on the roster at the moment. "I wouldn’t say this is a team that you put up there and say, ‘OK, it’s a perfect mesh of players,’" said Ainge. "But I would like to see how they play together, who sorta wins jobs and opportunities, and just how players fit -- mentally, emotionally, physically, how they mesh. And how they fit our system and [coach] Brad [Stevens'] style of play."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.