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Rajon Rondo Injury: The recent history of metacarpal fractures in the NBA

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David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Most of the talk surrounding Rajon Rondo's hand injury centers around whether he fractured his left third metacarpal in the shower or on a trampoline, but that fact is unimportant in the grand scheme of things. What matters most is when the Boston Celtics star point guard returns and how effective he will be.

Over the past few seasons, 12 players have suffered an injury to one of the five metacarpal bones in their hand. Of those players, two have seen their seasons destroyed after reinjury, four didn't require surgery, and the others went on to return and play productive basketball.

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After fracturing a metacarpal, the average player waited 4.4 days before having surgery. Of course, everyone's case is different, but only Rondo and Turkoglu had surgery the following day after sustaining their injury.

Turkoglu's story is the worst-case scenario for Rondo. He was expected to be out for only four weeks, but he suffered a setback when one of the screws inserted to repair the bone became loose. Upon returning to the court, Turkoglu reinjured the hand and was out for an additional three weeks.

The Celtics set an expected return date of six to eight weeks, which would mean he'll miss somewhere between three and 11 games. The average player above had to wait 41.6 days before returning to the court. If Rondo's recovery took the same amount of time, he would miss five games and make his season debut on November 8 in Chicago.

The fear, of course, is that of the five players who had surgery on a metacarpal and returned during the season, two of them reinjured it.

In addition to Turkoglu, Kevin Love ended up missing the rest of his season because of continued problems in his hand. He returned in a month, but it wasn't long before he re-fractured his third metacarpal and was having another surgery that shut down his season.

If the Celtics want to play it safe with Rondo, they might choose to wait until November 23 against Portland for his return.

With a brutal schedule to start the season, the Boston Celtics will be rocking on rough waters and the captain Rajon Rondo won't be there to steady the ship.