BOSTON — Satch Sullinger has been in town for about a week, and on Friday he was more than ready to prepare one of his specialties -- fried catfish -- for his son, Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger.
But Jared put what's good for his waistline ahead of what's good to his pallette, understanding all too well how easily the pounds can add up while he recovers from season-ending back surgery.
"I just know I'm not as active as I was before," the younger Sullinger told CSNNE.com, noting that he has lost about 10 pounds since his Feb. 1 season-ending surgery. "Before, I could eat that food, but I was at shootaround after that or doing my pre-ame routine. But now, it's like I'm just sitting here or doing a little bit of things for rehab [and] it's not the same. The way my metabolism is, weight can go through the roof if I don't watch it."
Instead of preparing for games, Sullinger finds himself these days prepping for core conditioning workouts with Bryan Doo, the C's strength and conditioning coach.
Getting ready for games is not easy, but it pales in comparison to the physical challenges of rehabbing from an injury.
Regardless, Sullinger knew well before surgery that the road back to playing would be a tough one.
Questions about the durability of Sullinger's back were raised shortly before last June's NBA draft, leading to him dropping to the C's at No. 21 after spending most of last season at Ohio State widely considered a lottery (top-14) pick.
But Sullinger sees him dropping in the draft as a blessing in disguise.
"I get a chance to learn from a lot of really great players, and be part of a winning tradition," Sullinger said of being drafted by the Celtics, which wouldn't have happened had he gone in the lottery. "That's helped me out a lot as a rookie, and I know it'll help me later in my career."
And the back surgery followed by his diligence with his rehabilitation, is all about paving the way for what he anticipates will be a bright future.
Shortly before Sullinger had his surgery, the Celtics said they were hoping it could wait until the summer.
While it's not a given that the surgery will keep his back from being an issue in the future, Sullinger is optimistic that the surgery and the way he has attacked his rehabilitation will make it so that he won't have any issues with his back down the road.
"I feel good, real good about my future," Sullinger said.
That future will likely not include any action with the Celtics' summer league team that's scheduled to play in Orlando, Fla., this summer.
The earliest anyone anticipates Sullinger on the floor is during training camp, which he said on Friday was indeed the plan.
But between now and then, he'll continue to attack his rehab the way he does loose balls, and avoid as best he can anything that could derail his progress -- like his dad's catfish.