It took me a while last night to accept the fact that Delonte West wasn't going to return from that brutal wrist injury. But slowly my thoughts turned to the Celtics' other injured point guard: Rajon Rondo. Rondo missed his third straight game last night with a strained left hamstring, and my first thought - when I did finally think about him - was: "He better not rush himself back because of this."
Once West returned from his 10-game suspension he united with Rondo, Nate Robinson, and Ray Allen to form a very stable backcourt. When Rondo went down there wasn't necessarily cause for panic, because the Celtics still had two other options at point guard in Robinson and West.
Now, with West set to miss considerable time with a broken right wrist, there's probably added incentive for Rondo to return, but he needs to do just the opposite. The Celtics will face the Toronto Raptors on Friday and then won't play again until next Tuesday when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time this season. With no games scheduled for four of the next five days, now is the perfect time for Rondo to get the extended rest that he needs to hopefully clear up that hamstring issue entirely (as well as that lingering case of plantar fasciitis). The Celtics shouldn't take any risks by playing him against the Raptors just because they have a shortage of depth at the guard positions.
For one game, the Celtics can handle the positions by committee. Von Wafer, who seems to have moved into Doc Rivers' good graces, can play more minutes. Marquis Daniels can fill in at point guard if need be, as he did for much of the second half against the Nets. Ray Allen can take on extended minutes for one game. And even Avery Bradley can step in for stretches, although I think it's pretty clear that Doc would rather not go that route just yet, only because of the limited practice time Bradley has had this season because of his injured left ankle. Still, he might not have much of a choice at this point.
I think Doc's handled Rondo's situation perfectly from the start, and I didn't expect him to change his course of action in light of West's injury, but I was still comforted to hear him say that he was "less likely" to play Rondo on Friday, even with the current circumstances in play.
"Unless Eddie (Lacerte, the Celtics' head trainer) says he's feeling great, I just can't see us (letting him play)," he said. "And I know Rondo, so we're going to really have to have a long talk for him to play on Friday."
Wafer Stays Ready
So far reserve guard Von Wafer's contributions to the Celtics this season have been minimal, but the days of a minute here and two minutes there might finally be behind him.
According to a report from Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com Wafer and rookie Luke Harangody met with Doc Rivers a few days ago and Rivers urged the two to "stay ready", as he could call upon them at any point.
As it turned out, he needed them both last night. Wafer drew the offensive foul on Morrow, and Harangody hauled in an offensive rebound on his first trip on offense.
Wafer might be even more valuable than Harangody during this current stretch, simply because of the lack of guards the Celtics are now forced to work with. But things are apparently changing for Wafer for the better, and it's because he's finally bought into the team mentality the Celtics stress.
"I'm really learning how to become a professional here," he said. "I've learned so much. People have a lot of negative things to say about me. I just didn't really know, but these guys have really taken me under their wings and they're showing me. I think I've gotten a lot better. It's just part of staying ready and being part of this culture."
Ainge Unlikely to Make Move
Rather than seek outside help to sure up the guard positions - which would call for the Celtics to release a player - Danny Ainge stressed that he likes the players he has and simply expects guys like Wafer and Bradley to step up.
"Quite honestly, that's why those guys work every day in practice for the opportunity to play," Ainge said. "We like those guys when the season started and I like them even more now with the work they are putting in and this league is a league of opportunity. So we'll stay with our roster for now and see what we got."
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone.