Rondo and the Celtics' Future: Some Great News

In the Feb 7 post-Lakers game show with Gary Tanguay and Donny Marshall, about 15 minutes in, the following conversation happened:

Donny Marshall: ....No Rondo, no championship.

Gary Tanguay (speaking to Donny): It may be an expensive lesson for Rondo, but maybe this is it. Because sources have told you: He gets it now. He wants to be part of it, he wants to distribute the ball, he's not worried about the assists....Sometimes something like this, something drastic has to happen.


When Will Rondo Return?
Add to that the recent news that RR's injury is only a PARTIAL ACL tear, from which we know it's POSSIBLE to heal in 6-10 weeks. IF -- and that's a big "if" -- he is able to heal in that time frame, that puts him back on the court sometime in April. May at the latest. (Note: A key to healing in that time is no complications -- which is reportedly the case with Rondo's injury.)

Note: "ACL tear" is a "knee sprain." Some sprains are very bad, involving complete ligament tears; others are relatively benign. A Grade III sprain is a total tear. Grade II is a partial tear. And Grade I = no tear. So Rondo has a Grade II sprain. [ ]

What we haven't heard is how bad is this "partial" tear. Very mild, or close to complete? There's a huge difference there in both severity and recovery time.

But we have very good clues. We know he's not getting surgery (not yet, anyway... and they don't delay these things unless forced). Given how much RR uses his knee, if he is NOT getting surgery, the injury, logically, should be quite mild (just slightly torn). Anything worse and he would have to get it surgically repaired in order to assure no long-term deficits.

Mild Grade II sprains can heal relatively quickly. Some say 6-8 weeks, others a few weeks longer. The variance mostly depends on the damage done and the health and strength of the patient. Individual variations rule.

Point is: RR COULD be back by April/May.


When 1+1 = Much More Than 2 Pieces of News
The COMBINATION of these two pieces of news is simply, potentially AWESOME.

There's been a lot written lately about how well the team is doing now without Rondo, and quite a few folks have opined that the team is better off without him. (Yes, my hand is raised.) They are certainly getting better results.

But Rondo now reportedly understands and ACCEPTS all the changes that happened out of necessity when he got injured. He WANTS to participate in the Cs' new offensive system. (And I think this must mean that he wants to forget his (occasional) bad habits on the defensive end too.)

Can you imagine HOW GREAT this team can be if Rondo comes back reasonably healthy and ready to rock in this new system?! I don't think there's a team in the NBA that could EVER be confident of being able to beat that version of these Cs. The Celtics would be top-tier championship contenders, seeding be damned.

Top-Tier Contenders
There are several reasons why this team is now so very good on the offensive end, usually their weakest area. Part of it is the great DEFENSE they've been playing, which gives them terrific scoring opportunities (of which they are taking full advantage, of course). Another is the beautiful ball movement; and still another is the distribution of shot creation. That last stands out because it means this team is UNPREDICTABLE on the attack -- which is absolutely key to their long-term success.

Several NBA observers have foreseen that when these Rondo-less Cs meet a SOLID defensive team (as if Miami's not solid... but ok, moving on), they'll be forced into the half-court and there they will fail without Rondo. But that is not true. The main REASON it's not true is the unpredictability of their offense now. NO team can figure it out. Because it's not figure-outable.... Heck, even the Cs often don't know who's going to be the tip of the spear on many plays. They've become so flexible now that they usually have at least four, sometimes all FIVE OPTIONS to choose from.

And let's not forget: they just played a mostly-half-court game and won -- vs. the Clippers. Without Rondo.

Imagine what they could do to teams if Rondo joins the party.

Bottom Line:
This is potentially great, breakout news: It is POSSIBLE that Rondo will be back by ~April sometime (or May). If so, he could work his way back into game shape and possibly be reasonably fully ready for the playoffs.

And best of all -- if the reports are correct, RR intends to come back playing the Cs' new way -- not just with speed and sharing of the ball.... but most importantly, sharing SHOT CREATION responsibilities with all the many other talented guys on this team.

This is great news for the Celtics' future.... even if Rondo doesn't make it back this season.

In any case... watch out NBA. The champs are coming back.



Feb. 8. 10:20am -- New news: Report has surfaced that Rondo will have surgery on February 12 or 13. If true, and that happens, it's all over for RR this season. Impossible for him to return.

But the MAIN news here, imo, was always what Donny Marshall reported about RR's attitude and desire to adapt his game to the Cs' new ways. That story remains, and it's huge in terms of next year.

And really, all this means now is that we have to win the championship without Rondo. It'll be an ever better story this way. Our guys will get it done.

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