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By Fitzgerald Cecilio
Despite their alleged health setbacks, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Perry Jones III of Baylor still found teams that are willing to take a gamble on them.
A 6-9 power forward, Sullinger was touted among the top 10 in the 2012 NBA Draft but his stock fell after he was red-flagged by doctors for having a balky back.
But this health problem did not deter the Boston Celtics from taking the power forward with the 21st pick in the draft.
Celtics assistant general manager Ryan McDonough said they had team doctors checked Sullinger during the NBA draft combine to test his back and found minor problems, which Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said could ultimately lead to surgery.
"Doc Rivers played with a herniated disc for 13 years, so it may need surgery at some point, it may not," Ainge said, referring to the Celtics' head coach.
With Sullinger now in their fold, the Celtics have found a versatile player the former Ohio State standout as he is a legitimate scorer and a force in the shaded lane in rebounding. He averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in his two seasons at Ohio State.
The Celtics have also added another big man in their line-up by drafting Syracuse 7-footer Fab Melo, who boasts of a 7-foot-2 wingspan. "He has size, and we like size," Rivers said. "We needed size."
Jones, for his part, was selected 28th overall by the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder despite his issue with meniscus in one of his knees.
A 6-11 power forward, Jones was expected to be picked in the top five but he fell a long way after his health problem was announced by doctors.
Oklahoma general manager Sam Presti said they were impressed with Jones' workout at the NBA draft combine in Chicago and decided to take him despite his alleged problem
"We've looked at all the information that we've had available and we wouldn't have selected him unless we felt comfortable with all of the information," Presti said.
Presti said team doctors will thoroughly examine Jones to determine if he needs surgery on the knee.
Celtics Take Shot on Ex-Ohio State Star Jared Sullinger