While 18,624 fans at the TD Garden were terrified on Saturday night for the health of Rajon Rondo, the Celtics’ point guard himself doesn’t sound worried at all. He may have dislocated his left elbow in Game 3 against the Heat, but he remains determined to bounce back in Game 4 on Monday night.
“I’m not concerned,” Rondo said after the Celtics’ 97-81 win over Miami. “We have a day off [Sunday]. I’ll get some treatment, and hopefully I’ll be ready to play.”
Rondo’s coach, Doc Rivers, was shocked to see the young point guard return so quickly from such a serious injury. He left the floor midway through the third quarter in agonizing pain, flanked by Dr. Brian McKeon, trainer Ed Lacerte and executive Danny Ainge. He came back almost instantaneously.
“The first report was dislocated, out basically for good,” Rivers said. “But then literally 30 seconds later, I was in the huddle and I saw Rondo walk by me. It looked like he was going to play. Give Dr. McKeon credit. He told him, ‘Go out there and see what you can do. If you can play, play.’ And that’s what he did. It was good to see him out on the floor.”
Rivers says he still hasn’t gone back and looked at the injury, which resulted from a hard fall after Rondo found himself tangled up with Heat guard Dwyane Wade in the paint.
“I still haven’t seen it,” the coach said. “I’ve heard that I don’t want to see it. I’ve never seen the [Joe] Theismann injury, and I don’t plan on seeing this one. I’ve heard that it was not the prettiest thing. Probably it helped me, honestly, that I didn’t see it. Because if I had, from what I hear, it would have been tough for me to put him back in the game.”
Rondo’s not the only Celtic battling an injury — new or old. Shaquille O’Neal is only one game into his return from a calf injury, and both Paul Pierce and Delonte West have new ailments bugging them. Pierce came up limping after getting fouled in the third quarter, and West bruised his left shoulder Saturday.
Rivers says Shaq’s status is currently “good,” and Pierce’s is “just cramps.”
West might be the one guy worth worrying about.
“Delonte, he’s a major concern,” Rivers said. “The shoulder could be worse than we thought. We’ll see.”