Former Ohio State star Jared Sullinger’s draft stock could fall because of concerns over the health of his back. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Some NBA team doctors are advising their organizations not to draft former Ohio State star Jared Sullinger in the first round because of back issues, reports ESPN.com‘s Chad Ford.
Sources told Ford that doctors who inspected Sullinger’s back at the NBA draft combine were worried his back problems may cut short his career.
Sullinger dealt with back issues during his sophomore season, even missing a showdown with Kansas in December because of them. At the time, it was reported he suffered from spasms that stemmed from an aggravated disc in his back.
Sullinger put up nearly identical stats in his two seasons with Ohio State. In his sophomore season, he averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He has been projected as a late lottery selection in the upcoming draft, including 10th in SI.com NBA reporter Sam Amick’s Mock Draft 2.0.
Sullinger’s stock could fall quickly, though, if teams consider his back issues significant.
But Sullinger’s father, Satch Sullinger, told ESPN.com‘s Andy Katz on Monday that his son’s back problems are not severe.
“He had a bulging area that was due to his hamstring and quads being so tight,” Satch Sullinger told Katz. “It pulled on his hip flexor and he’s been taking care of it to loosen it. You can call it a red flag if you want. But it’s tight hamstring and tight quads. He’s been to doctors, he’s doing yoga and deep tissue massage. The flexibility is helping take the pressure off the area.
“We’ve got nothing to hide. At this stage it’s all about what they can’t do. Jared is a skilled player. A two-time All-American. He can play.”