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Sullinger pledges to transform his body

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics big man Jared Sullinger said he's unhappy with the way he looks on film and pledged to use his rehab from a left foot fracture and the offseason to transform his body.

Sullinger's season ended Sunday when tests determined he has a stress fracture of the fourth metatarsal.

"Freak accidents happen. I just have to come back better," Sullinger said.

Pressed on what he hoped to get out of recovery, Sullinger added: "A little bit of everything -- change the physique, change the way I look. That’s the biggest thing, I think. I’m tired of looking on camera and just seeing how I look, seeing how I play during extended minutes. Conditioning is going to be a big factor. Conditioning is going to be hard because all I can do is ride the bike. We’re going to find ways, we’re going to find ways to get me in the best shape possible."

Sullinger was averaging a career-best 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds this season, but playing only 28.7 minutes per game. Conditioning has been a focus with Sullinger in the past, and the team has encouraged him to get in better shape to maintain a high level of play through four quarters.

Sullinger suggested that former Celtics player/current broadcaster Brian Scalabrine had pointed out Sullinger's uneven performance over the course of games.

"What’s funny is that [Scalabrine] brought it up," Sullinger said. "First quarter, I’m not really an offensive threat. The fourth quarter is when I become an offensive threat. It’s kind of like pacing when I watch the first two quarters. The second half, I always kind of wake up. So it looks like I’m pacing myself. So for me to be what Brad [Stevens] and Danny [Ainge] and all those guys want me to be, conditioning plays into that factor, to be able to play all out until the fourth quarter."

Sullinger, who is listed at 6-foot-9, 280 pounds, has battled injuries throughout his playing career. His rookie season ended after 45 games due to a disc issue -- one that caused him to plummet to Boston at No. 21 in the 2012 draft.

Sullinger returned to play in 74 games last season, all while extending his range to the perimeter in an attempt to maximize his talents. He appeared in 51 games this season, making a career-best 49 starts, before the foot injury sidelined him coming out of the All-Star break.

Sullinger said he did not believe his weight played a factor in the fracture.

"It happens with everybody," Sullinger said. "I was playing a lot of minutes, doing a lot of things, and it happens. My body couldn’t handle all that. Now I’ve just got to change some of the ways I go about things."

When pressed on how getting in better shape might alleviate injury concerns, Sullinger added, "Getting in better shape is going to be the biggest things, just because stuff like this could reoccur. And you don’t want it to reoccur. I've just got to get in better shape."

Sullinger is wearing a walking boot that Stevens expects him to wear for at least six weeks while allowing the fracture to heal. Sullinger said he's not in any pain, but knows he must allow the fracture to fully heal before resuming heightened activities.

Sullinger was asked why a body transformation hasn't been a priority before this point.

"I’m always the type of person where the light switch has to happen," Sullinger said. "I developed my grades through a mistake I made with my father [and basketball coach Satch Sullinger]. By not doing my work, he sat me out; the next thing you know I was on the honor roll. I’ve always been that type of person. Sometimes I’m a little late with things. As long as it happens, it happens."

Sullinger had pledged to get in better shape this summer and did report for camp looking trimmer, but appears to have added weight during the season.

"I got in better shape, but there’s another level to it," Sullinger said. "There’s always another level to everything. I just have to take it to another level. This year I came back in a little bit better shape. Obviously, it wasn’t good enough. Now I just have to get back to the grit and grind, kind of break my body down just to build it back up. I think that’s what I’m going to do this summer."

Sullinger noted that he broke his right foot in the ninth grade -- at the fourth metatarsal as well -- and said he knows what he must do to get back on the floor.

He's disappointed to be sidelined as the Celtics attempt to make a run at the playoffs in a dilapidated Eastern Conference, but clung to the silver lining that younger players might get extra experience that could help down the road.

"It’s disappointing, but at the same time, I think it’s going to help the team," Sullinger said. "There’s going to be a lot of people that have to step up. A lot of people are going to have to take bigger roles. I think if not this year, then next year it’ll be big-time help for our team."

What will help Boston more than anything next season might be a healthy and transformed Sullinger.