It’s been nearly two weeks since Rajon Rondo gruesomely sprained his left ankle in a shootout against the New York Knicks. Timetables on his return had the team’s medical staff expecting the point guard to be out 1-2 weeks perhaps longer. Doc Rivers insisted he would not be bringing back Rondo until he’s fully 100 percent.
Well, in no surprise to anyone, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe is reporting via his twitter account that it’s a possibility Rondo may play in the team’s New Years Eve date with New Orleans on Friday afternoon. He will not play tonight or tomorrow according to CSN sideline reporter Greg Dickerson.
So what do you make of this if you’re a Celtics fan? There’s two ways to look at this recovery really. One side of me is a bit alarmed Rondo is coming back so soon. Though the ankle is the real reason for his absence, his hamstring and plantar fasciitis must be just as much of a painful and recurring nuisance at this point. Will those conditions be better after two weeks of rest? Yes. Would they be even better with two more weeks of rest on top of it? You bet.
The problem though is after three straight subpar offensive performances, it’s questionable to wonder just how long this team’s offense can function and win without Rondo or West at the helm. They were able to get away with it for a while, and will continue to do so against subpar teams, but there’s not enough healthy manpower to sustain it at this point without running Paul Pierce and Nate Robinson into the ground.
The other big concern if you’re Doc Rivers? Check out this team’s schedule for January.
16 games. Four back-to-backs. The leisurely days of December where almost every week had two days of rest at some point are long gone. In January, there are only two straight days of rest twice. And with things kicking off January 2nd with five games in seven nights, you can bet this team will need one more contributing active body to survive. And it sounds like that guy will be Rajon Rondo.
So do I want Rondo to rest even more? Of course. Do I think the team is rushing him back? No. I do understand the need to have him back goes beyond just wins. In the month of January, this team needs minutes to go along with those wins. Sadly, there is no one on the bench ready to provide them (though I wish Doc would give Von Wafer more leash). So bring Rondo back now, and hopefully sit him down again for some extended rest once Delonte West returns next month.
In the interim though, it’s a cruel reality. The team can’t afford to give Rondo any extra rest if they aren’t going to go deeper in the bench. And Doc hasn’t shown to this point he is willing to do that consistenly.