Post-game Reactions

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.

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • SteveB

    I'm pretty sure there are two straight days of rest between games 39 and 40 and games 43 and 44. It is a brutal month schedule wise though.

  • dslack

    They COULD get by giving Bradley and Wafer some run. And they SHOULD do this. Just like, in the frontcourt, Harangody should get some minutes, too. It's a mistake to tempt fate by playing a guy who's obviously out of balance and developing strange injuries (like rolling his ankle without stepping on anything). I think the plantar fasciitis is leading Rondo to get these weird foot/leg issues, and so he needs to heal fully, or at least close to fully. I'd rather see him sit out till February, if that's what it takes. The team would certainly lose some otherwise winnable games, but having them healthy for the playoffs is really all that matters, as last year's playoff run showed.

  • Anoyed

    Rondo's a young guy. If he's even 75% he should play. Not like he's a vet like Garnett/Shaq/Pierce with 40,000 minutes under his belt. Suck it up! he might not be 100% on the court but here's a crazy concept: playing when you're not 100%…Who's 100% anyway after the first week of the season.

    I mean seriously people, coaches treat these players like babies nowadays. This league is not a physical one anymore. Not when touch fouls are the norm. Rondo's not even a big. He's not going to be battling under the paint with the other bigs for 35+ minutes. Its sad. Hate the way teams are run nowadays. Hell, why not just rest the guy until the playoffs right? Love the Celts but I have a lot of respect for arch nemeses like Kobe who can play through a season with a f-ing broken finger practically. Stop coddling the young bucks for christ sakes! Let them earn their damn paycheck. Lame.

  • DRJ1

    The points made in this post seem valid. But the risk they're taking by bringing him back prematurely include having Rondo reinjure himself, possibly much more seriously this time. That's what happens when an athlete like this plays on an already-damaged leg. He moves differently, abnormally, thus making additional injury more likely. Is it wise to take that risk with Rondo, of all people (arguably the most important guy on the court, possibly along with KG)?

  • dslack

    I guess we have different priorities. Personally, I want the Celtics to win the championship. It sounds like you value players earning their paychecks. I agree that what Kobe did was admirable, but (1) it might not have been smart (although they did end up winning the championship anyway that year), and (2) the finger injury didn't place him at risk of injuring himself more. Rondo's case is different. His injuries are the kind that definitely place him at risk of further injuries. I'd rather he rest until healthy than continue to play at a reduced level. I understand the opposite viewpoint, but I don't subscribe to it.

  • CsFanInArkansas

    it's funny how we all have such little faith in the notion that the training/coaching staff have as much riding on proper injury management than we as fans do. these guys (eddie, doc) have to answer to people (wyc, danny) if they don't manage their players and their players' injuries properly – their jobs depend [partly] on successfully doing that.

    we're not in the practices/therapy sessions/training sessions and we don't know how these guys are responding to their injuries, but i feel pretty confident with the guys at the helm making the decisions. if rondo's able to come in and give us a lift in january and stay healthy until d west gets back…we might be able to work d west in for him more and have rondo better rested down the stretch.

    the good news is: right now (knock on wood) this team is moving in the right direction – we're getting guys back rather than losing guys. we're going to be REALLY pumped when we rip off another 14 wins in january and then get d west and KP back for february…the rest of the league will be terrified…and we'll be salivating over banner 18…GO CELTS!

    • Chris O

      Yea why does it seem everyone is assuming he is not ready. I completely agree with you, the training and coaching staff know better than we do. If he was supposed to be out 1-2 weeks and its been 2 weeks why are we shocked he is coming back?

  • CsFanInArkansas

    after re-reviewing the january schedule, does anybody else think that (other than the 4 back-to-backs) it's a pretty un-intimidating schedule?!

    • BH24

      Yeah, I guess if you take away the worst parts of the schedule then it's not as bad… I mean, besides all the good teams, it's not like they're playing any good teams =P… But I do understand what you're saying; they do seem to play more sub-par teams than normal. But we all know how they can tend to play down to those kind of teams' levels (especially without Rondo) and how much a lack of rest could effect a team like this. But, yeah, it could definitely be a lot worse. Though I am not looking forward to @Chicago on the 2nd night of a back-to-back at all.

  • Annoyed

    yeah, don't get me wrong, If I had a crystal ball and saw Rondo getting a major injury for coming back "too early" than I'd want him to sit. None of us have that though. I mean they're down D. West, the two O'nealls are basically game day decisions as is. No Perk…where do they draw the line with not playing someone who isn't "100%?" I'm all about winning the championship but you know what helps with that? Having the best record and home court advantage throughout. To play devil's advocate what if they miss out on home court because of a few games that they may have won with Rondo. A limited Rondo at 20 minutes a game or so is still one of the best point guards in the game. he's going to help if he plays smart and doesn't over-extend himself.

  • Annoyed

    I'm not a trainer or professional athlete so I don't have much perspective…more of a statement about the league as a whole. Just frustrating as hell. Not to belabor the point but this is not Hockey or football. Rondo ain't a big. He'll be fine if he plays smart I feel. This happens more and more every year in every major sport. Rest a guy if they don't really need him for a W. Fans pay big money to watch these players and you got teams sitting people in the interest of a few hypothetical playoff games. How well did that work for 'Bron last year? Or Peyton and the Colts? Ugh, just ranting now, sorry…

  • ElRoz

    Well, I would do two things after hearing these news about Rondo healing up – 1. Glad 2. Not rush him back…if Boston can beat NO and then win at Toronto w/o Rondo…which is rather doable, I would hold him back and just be glad he is progressing. I would even hold him out of the Minnesota game but for the probable need to get him into Basketball before the Spurs arrive.
    I think he would be needed today agaisnt the Pacers…otherwsie no earlier than Minnesota game before the Spurs.

    Glad to hear RR is getting better!

  • Celtics 18

    I think Semih Erden is much better than Jermaine O'Neal at the moment, he gets way more points but JO is perhaps still better when it comes to defense and rebounding.
    What do you guys think?

    • rondowife

      Semih Erden is injured .He has some shoulder problems.Though i agree with you. He just can't play too much minutes

  • dslack

    Not sure if anyone's reading this thread anymore, but I see what you're saying. But given that we don't have crystal balls, I think it makes sense to do what's likeliest to preserve health for the playoffs, not what's likeliest to give wins during the regular season. Last season's playoff run proved that health is far more important than homecourt advantage.