Rookie forward Jared Sullinger was worth the gamble, Boston coach Doc Rivers said.

The former Ohio State star was drafted by the Celtics with the No. 21 pick in the 2012 draft despite doctors figuring he'd need back surgery at some point.

That point was Feb. 1. But the Celtics have no regrets.

"We love the pick,'' Rivers said before Wednesday's game against the Cavaliers. "Where we were at -- No. 21 -- we just felt at that point there was nobody better in the draft than him. If he'd have come out the year before, he'd have probably been top five.

"It was an easy pick for us. Our doctors told us at some point he was going to need surgery. But it's not a career-ending surgery or anything like that. It's just surgery. We were hoping it would happen in the summer time, to be quite honest, that he could get through the year. But he just didn't. He'll be fine next year.''

For now, Sullinger is back in Boston.

"I am doing absolutely nothing right now," he said in a telephone interview.

Since having the emergency back surgery, he has been shut down by the Celtics. He is not even traveling with the team.

Before his injury, Sullinger was averaging about six points and six rebounds in 45 games, including five starts. He had career highs of 16 points twice and 16 rebounds against Phoenix on Jan. 9. He played in both games against the Cavs earlier this season, averaging 8.5 points and four rebounds.

Even though he's unable to practice or play, he's still learning.