Saying the Celtics roster is a bit beatup just two months into the season would be a bit of an understatement. With three players already out for longer periods (Jermaine O’Neal, Delonte West, Kendrick Perkins), and other guys battling other varying ailments (Shaq-calf, Semih Erden-shoulder, Nate Robinson-heel) the C’s locker room can resemble an injury ward at times.
Yet, despite all of these bumps and bruises, the C’s have rolled out to 16-4 start, yet perhaps their most valuable commodity, Rajon Rondo still remains as beatup as he’s ever been, battling both plantar fasciitis and a lingering strained hamstring that has cropped up again this past Sunday and has forced the point guard to miss four games thus far during the young season.
Given the tendency for these injuries to linger, I posed the suggestion to Doc Rivers to practice this afternoon. Have you thought about resting Rondo long-term right now, to try to minimize the chances of the injury coming back? Here’s his candid response:
“I just leave it up to Eddie. That may come at some point. I don’t think it’s a bad suggestion. It’s been suggested already, I can tell you that. Eddie knows when it’s close enough to play.”
“The injury scares me. Both the foot and the hamstring. The foot is not the problem right now, but the hamstring can go from a pull to a tear. When you get the tear, you are talking two months so it’s a tough little situation.
“We thought it was over with. I don’t think it got any worse. A week ago Rondo and Eddie said ‘I’m over that.’ I don’t know what game it was where he pulled it (again) a little bit.”
Happy to see this consideration is being made in the Celtics locker room, especially given the amount of turmoil this team is facing. With Avery Bradley showing he can at least handle spot duty against inferior opponents, this could give Doc the green light to sit Rondo down before Christmas as the team goes through a weaker stretch in their schedule with fewer games and not as many elite opponents.
The team in fact just plays seven games in the next two and a half weeks with the toughest opponent being Atlanta at home, a team missing it’s best player in Joe Johnson who the C’s defeated without Rondo on the road by double digits.
Can this team win without Rondo? With Nate Robinson at the starting point, they have proved they can. So if there’s anytime to rest your starting point guard, it’s now before the problem gets any worse. Given the fact the team is already down Delonte West, Doc can’t afford any more long term injuries to his guards.