A playoff bid for the currently eighth seeded Celtics is in serious jeopardy now, as the team announced on Sunday that Rajon Rondo has a torn right ACL and will miss the rest of the season.
The elation from the Celtics’ 100-98 double-overtime win over the Miami Heat–a victory that snapped a seven-game losing skid–quickly evaporated as the team learned of Rondo’s injury.
“Obviously the Rondo news is tough,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the game, via ESPN.com. “I knew before the game, but I didn’t tell anyone. Obviously it was pretty emotional.”
Initial tests reported that Rondo’s injury was a hyper-extended knee, but more recent tests revealed the tear, which will require season-ending surgery. Rondo is expected to seek a second opinion to nail down a more exact recovery time, but these injuries typically take a full year to come back from, meaning we not see Rondo on the floor until this time next season. Rondo’s teammates will miss not only his production on the court, but his leadership and presence as well.
“It was a big blow to everybody in here, me included,” Kevin Garnett said. “Man, that hurt. It’s tough. We had a tough game, came in, and he told the whole team in the locker room. It’s tough, tough on everybody.
“(Rondo is) becoming the heart and soul of this team. He’s coming into his own. Had some bumps in the road, but we’re just trying to be supportive for him.”
In 38 games this season, Rondo averaged 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds, which are numbers that earned him a starting spot for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game. He would have started alongside his friend and teammate Garnett, who is making his 14th All-Star appearance.
For the 21-23 Boston Celtics, things already hadn’t been going according to plan this season, but this recent setback may have just thrown their entire 2012-2013 campaign off the rails.