Sullinger's agent downplays report of prospect being 'red flagged'
David Falk insists his client Jared Sullinger will have a long, productive NBA career
ESPN reported and SI confirmed Sullinger had been 'red-flagged' by NBA doctors
Sullinger has repeatedly been plagued by back issues caused by a tight hamstring
The agent for Jared Sullinger downplayed concerns about his client's health issues on Monday, insisting that the Ohio State forward's NBA career won't be shortened as a result of a tight hamstring that has caused back problems.
Nor, David Falk made clear, should his client's draft stock take a tumble.
An ESPN.com report indicated that, as sources confirmed to SI.com, Sullinger's back issues led to his being "red flagged" at the predraft camp in Chicago earlier this month. The big man is widely seen as a lottery pick, and is currently slotted to be drafted by New Orleans at No. 10 in SI.com's latest Mock Draft.
But Falk said teams that have shown an interest in Sullinger have all been made aware of his health issues, and that proper maintenance on Sullinger's part should keep this from affecting the longevity or effectiveness of his career.
"Jared has consulted with one of the foremost specialists of backs and spines, who has vast experience treating professional athletes," Falk told SI.com. "He has explained to us that Jared had extremely tight hamstrings that became tight because he had suffered an injury that I don't think he was aware of to his hamstring. He needs to maintain vigilance with his flexibility. And if he does that, and keeps his weight at an appropriate level, then he should have absolutely no problems over the next 15 years."
Still, an executive with a team that picks late in the first round said the concerns about Sullinger extend far beyond the tightness of his hamstring and that he could be in for a serious slide. Some executives reached by SI.com, including one whose team picks in the top 10, said their teams were still in the process of gathering a more informed opinion of Sullinger's situation.
The big man was a model in consistency with the Buckeyes, averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as a freshman and 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds as a sophomore. As Falk noted, Sullinger didn't miss any practices in his collegiate career and played 37 games in each season. He did, however, miss two games in early December because of back spasms.
Sullinger faced plenty of scrutiny entering the draft, in large part tied to the popular perception of him as undersized and overweight. But he seemed to have answered those questions at the combine, where he measured 6-9 in shoes while weighing 268.2 pounds with a 10.7 percent body fat.
Now, he'll have to wait until June 28 to know how hard his stock has been hit.