He was more of a factor than even the Celtics expected, and while Jared Sullinger’s season is through, he remains one of the brighter lights in an injury-altered year.

With the rookie’s back surgery a success and the belief among physicians that he will be even better going forward because of the effect the back was having on his legs — and the fact the disc problems will no longer be a Sword of Damocles hanging over his career — the guy is looking like a steal at No. 21 overall in last June’s draft.

And while NBA folks are crediting Danny Ainge for carrying high the red flags set off by the pre-draft back examinations, Sullinger’s father is thanking a higher authority for getting his son into one of the profession’s better work environments.

“I told Jared, ‘God’s good all the time. All that they said about you coming into the draft and with you falling to 21, you went to the most storied program in the NBA,’ ” said Satch Sullinger. “ ‘You’re going to where a culture of winning is there. Those guys that went 1 through 10, they’ve got to go to a culture of losing and develop a culture of winning. You get to go in there and learn in a culture of winning from the very beginning with the most storied program in the NBA.’