WALTHAM, Mass. — The glove-like contraption covering Jared Sullinger's left hand at practice on Thursday was not a present left by Santa under the big fella's Christmas tree or some ode to the late Michael Jackson.
It was Sullinger's way of owning up to discomfort he has been dealing with after injuring his hand last month.
"I decided to finally wear something," said Sullinger, who sustained the injury on Nov. 25 at Charlotte. "For the longest I didn't wear [anything]."
And that's surprising when you consider the nature of the injuries, that's plural not singular, that he has been dealing with for more than a month.
"It's a deep bone bruise, couple sprained ligaments in my left hand," Sullinger said. "But I'll be alright."
The 6-foot-9 forward has been playing some of his best basketball of the season since the injury, establishing himself as arguably the Celtics' best player not named Rajon Rondo.
After the Nov. 25 game against the Bobcats, Sullinger has averaged 16.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 36.6 percent on 3s.
He has shown a slight improvement in his shooting from the field (47.2 percent) compared to prior to the injury, in addition to improved 3-point shooting, which is up now from 22.6 percent earlier.
Still, the biggest improvements are in the categories that matter most to a high-IQ, big man in the post such as Sullinger - points, rebounds and assists.
Prior to the injury, he was averaging 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists.
Not surprisingly, he said the ligaments and bone bruise haven't really bothered him much in games.
"Just when you hit it in the right spot," Sullinger said. "Other than that, I'm fine."