Rajon Rondo's been deemed a game-time decision for today's 1:00pm bout with the Toronto Raptors after suffering a strained left hamstring in the second half of the Celtics' 89-84 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. Doc Rivers sat Rondo for the final 4:44 of the fourth quarter, electing to go with Delonte West at point guard instead.
Doc doesn't mess around with injuries, no matter what the issue is. He won't hesitate to sit Rondo today if he feels, at any point leading up to tip-off, that Rondo's not moving correctly. I'm worried more about Rondo deeming himself "fine" to play, like when he shrugged off the medical staff's suggestion not to play against the Chicago Bulls back on November 5 when a "mild" case of plantar fasciitis was bothering him.
Why risk anything today? Hamstring injuries can get tricky if not dealt with correctly, and the last thing Rondo and the Celtics need is for him to make the issue any worse so that he's forced to miss an extended period of time. Obviously if the leg's not feeling good today, he should sit, and he should also consider sitting out of tomorrow night's clash with the Atlanta Hawks.
But even if Rondo feels like he could play today, I don't think he should. Again, why risk it today? He should err on the side of caution, give himself an extra day to rest (never a bad thing for a guy averaging 39.6 minutes per game), and gear up for Atlanta tomorrow night. The Celtics can still take care of the Raptors with Delonte West starting at point guard. The Raptors might very well be short-handed at the point guard spot anyway, as the team completed a trade yesterday that will send point guards Jarrett Jack and Marcus Banks to the New Orleans Hornets. The point guard the Raptors received in the deal - Jerryd Bayless - might not complete a mandatory physical on time to be in uniform for Toronto today, meaning Jose Calderon would be the Raptors' only true option at point guard if Leandro Barbosa doesn't play.