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Rajon Rondo Out for Season, Celtics Face Changes
Rajon Rondo, the Boston Celtics triple-double machine, is out for the rest of the season. Rondo was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his right knee. The injury occurred last Friday in the Celtics loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Coach Doc Rivers held off informing the rest of the team on Rondo’s condition until after the Celtics beat the Miami Heat in double overtime on Sunday.
“You can write the obituary; I’m not,” Rivers said. “You can go ahead, but I’m not. We won tonight and so, the way I look at it is, we’re going to stay in there. In my opinion, we’re going nowhere.”
Rivers may be right about the “going nowhere” part. The timing of Rondo’s injury couldn’t be worse as the C’s struggle to hold on to the eight spot in the East’s playoff picture. With Rondo out, and no surgery date yet determined, expect Boston to falter despite whatever heroic efforts aging superstars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce can piece together in the second half of the season.
Rondo, who leads the league in assists (11.1) at 37.4 minutes per game, was voted to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. David Stern is expected to announce his replacement.
So who should replace Rondo? If Stern sticks to replacing one point guard with another, don’t be surprised to see Deron Williams (17.1 PPG, 7.8 APG) of the Nets, who have no All-Star representatives, making the start. However, the right call would be to move the Cav’s Kyrie Irving (24.2 PPG, 5.6 APG) into the starting lineup. Since the 76ers Jrue Holiday (19.4 PPG, 8.9 APG) is already on the roster, Brandon Jennings (18.6 PPG, 6 APG) of the Bucks is the only other point guard in the East who could step up. Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich shouldn’t worry about having to cancel his All-Star weekend plans.
If Stern decides to pick a non-guard, he should look no further than Carlos Boozer of the Bulls. Boozer has come out like a man possessed this season earning 24 double-doubles while no longer spray painting his hair on. For this the power forward should be recognized. His increased production is a major reason the Bulls own the third best record in the East.
Of course losing Rondo in the All-Star game is nothing compared to what Boston needs to figure out if they hope to be playing on April 20th when the playoffs begin. With the trade deadline looming, the Celtics may have to face the dreaded yet inevitable rebuilding process.
Now that Rondo is gone for the foreseeable future, Celtics GM Danny Ainge needs to figure out what is best for his team and not be blindsided by the success of yesteryear. Garnett and Pierce are superstars, but they are old and already logging heavy minutes in an uneventful season. The Celtics have nice complimentary players in Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass and Leandro Barbosa. However, none of them can get Boston to the Finals let alone deep into the playoffs. With the team’s Big 3 now reduced to an aging Dynamic Duo, Boston must take a realistic look at what the future holds.
“Rondo will be fine,” said Doc Rivers. “He just will not be fine this year.”
Unfortunately, neither will the Celtics.
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