It’s been a rough 2012-2013 for the Celtics and even after snapping a seven-game losing streak against the defending champion Miami Heat, there was more bad news for Boston, as tests revealed Rajon Rondo tore his right ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.
The 21-23 Celtics haven’t nearly lived up to their own lofty expectations, but even a playoff berth is in serious doubt now that Rondo, their floor general, is out for the season.
According to ESPN.com, the initial injury report listed Rondo as having a hyper-extended knee, but later tests confirmed that it was in fact an ACL tear and will require surgery, which will keep Rondo out of action for a year. Although there is no date set for surgery, team spokesman Brian Olive confirmed that Rondo’s season is over.
“Obviously the Rondo news is tough,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “I knew before the game, but I didn’t tell anyone. Obviously it was pretty emotional.”
Rondo was averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game this season and was selected as an Eastern Conference starter for this year’s All-Star game, as was teammate Kevin Garnett, who will miss sharing the moment with Rondo on Feb. 17, but more than that, will miss playing with him for the remainder of the Celtics’ playoff chase this year.
“It was a big blow to everybody in here, me included,” 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.”
After learning of the news, Rondo was a late scratch from the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Heat, but Boston still managed to pull out the 100-98 victory in double-overtime. The Celtics won the game without him, but Celtics President Danny Ainge knows that the real test will be winning without him for the rest of the year.
“We’ve had success playing without Rajon during short periods of time, but we’ve never had to play without him during long periods of time,” Ainge said. “It should be an interesting test for us — not a test we wanted. Frankly, I’m worried about that test.”
For bettors that were counting on the Celtics to compete this season, things aren’t looking good. The team was already struggling and now may not even make the playoffs.