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Report: Jared Sullinger has medical red flag due to back problem

By Ben Golliver | Blogger
OSU big man Jared Sullinger reportedly has a medical red flag. (Getty Images)

The three worst words for any NBA Draft prospect: medical red flag. Nothing can send a prospect's stock sinking faster than health concerns.

ESPN.com reports that Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger has become the first big name of the Class of 2012 to find himself linked to serious concerns about his body.

Sullinger, who is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2012 NBA draft, underwent a series of medical tests at the NBA draft combine a week ago. According to sources, the doctors who looked at Sullinger were concerned with Sullinger's back.

A number of NBA team doctors have reviewed the information from the NBA and have told their front office staff that Sullinger's back issues could shorten his NBA career and some have advised their teams not to draft him in the first round.

SI.com reported the following response from David Falk, Sullinger's agent.

"Jared has consulted with one of the foremost specialists of backs and spines, who has vast experience treating professional athletes. 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 a 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."

Sullinger, listed at 6-foot-9 and 268 pounds, entered the 2012 NBA Draft after spending two seasons at Ohio State, where he posted averages of 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Sullinger was a highly regarded prospect coming out of high school, known for his rebounding prowess and ability to score in traffic.

He worked hard to drop weight while at Ohio State, and he led the Buckeyes to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2011 and a Final 4 appearance in 2012 while being named to the All-American team twice. Sullinger could have been a lottery pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but he elected to return to college for his sophomore season.

DraftExpress.com currently projects Sullinger will be taken with the No. 7 pick in the first round by the Golden State Warriors. ESPN.com has him going No. 10 to the New Orleans Hornets.

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