The worst thing that can happen to a NBA team thus far is losing a key player due to injury. The only thing worst than that scenario, is losing your best player to injury with so much NBA season left to play. Well the Boston Celtics have now had to face that reality as their superstar point guard Rajon Rondo will miss the remainder of the 2013 NBA season. Rondo's abrupt finish to the season, has him with a stat line of 13.7 PPG, 11.1 APG, 5.6 RPG, .484 FG%, and a player efficiency rating of 18.38.
This news came as a surprise to the NBA universe, but most importantly to the Celtics (as you saw from Paul Pierce's reaction) who currently hold the 8th seed in the Eastern conference standings, with a record of 21-23. Rondo's injury, is an ACL tear which many think occurred during their 123-111 double overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Despite suffering from injury, Rondo still managed to play 12 minutes while contributing on that torn ACL. Not only does that show a lot of heart, and toughness on Rondo's part unfortunately it may have made his injury worst.
So what does this mean for the Celtics who were riding a 6 game losing streak, before Sunday's 100-98 overtime victory over the defending champions, and number 1 seed Miami Heat (28-13). It means Boston fans should prepare to see many changes despite the assuring of head coach Doc Rivers who explained that someone from the team must fill the void left by their All-star point guard. This team despite Rondo, and other young players have an older star core with Kevin Garnett (36), and Paul Pierce (35).
In fact Rondo's ability to set them up, and make plays made it easier on them to do what they do best. In fact I would be surprised if GM Danny Ainge didn't make a splash in terms of trades before the all-star break. This also means the tag of "title contender" has been permanently stripped off of Boston this season, as I don't see the Celtics pulling off a big time playoff run without their franchise player. Can they make the playoffs? Yes, due to the fact that the bottom half of the Eastern conference with the exception of the young Philadelphia 76ers don't have anything that warrants the thought of them making a push for that 8th spot. Rondo's playoff experience, leadership, and over all skill/talent will surely be missed come post season if they make it.
What does this mean for the rest of the East? Well for starters it's a collective sigh of relief from all of the 7 teams racing for playoff position. Yes you want to face your opponents at their best, but teams such as the Heat, Knicks, Bulls, and Nets who have solidified the top spots in the East have had their scares when it comes to playing Boston, and there is no doubt Rondo was the Major factor in recent years. Don't believe me ask the Heat who had to endure a full 7 game series in the Eastern Conference Finals in which we saw big time Rondo performances, and the Knicks who have had their share a loses to the Celtics in post season play.
You never want to see big time players go out with injury, especially the best at their positions. As we prepare to finally see the return of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose since last season's playoffs, from the same injury it shows how long Boston fans will have to wait to see Rondo on the floor for them again. Injuries are no joke, and this one shakes things up for the long run.
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