Any athlete would find it difficult watching his or her team compete when sidelined with an injury. But one can only imagine the frustration that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo feels while watching his team battle the New York Knicks, who they swept in the playoffs two seasons ago.

Rondo has demonstrated in recent years that he is most productive during the post-season. Aside from his memorable 44-point game against Miami in the ECF last year, Rondo has notched 10 career post-season triple doubles (see video above for highlights from 9 of them), 4 of which came in last year's playoffs. And he nearly averaged a triple-double throughout the 2009 playoffs.

So taking into account that Rondo is sitting on the bench nursing an ACL injury during a time where he typically shines, especially when Boston has no true back-up point guard, it makes it even more impressive as to how well he seems to be handling the situation.

Rondo told the Boston Globe:

“I like to compete, I want to play but I’m fine where I’m at right now,” he said before the Game 4 win. “I’m just trying to support my teammates. That’s all I can do and that’s what I am going to do. I’ve been watching for four months now, it’s hard sitting on the sideline watching. Can’t do anything about it.”

“That’s what it’s about, it’s about stepping up to the plate, when the lights come on that’s when you see what you’re made of,” he said. “I love the spotlight. I love the pressure situations, and what other situation is better than the playoffs?”

And the Celtics definitely miss his post-season presence and leadership. Rondo has served as an inspiration to his team on many occasions, including the gruesome elbow injury in the 2011 playoffs that he played through, making one-armed baskets and building the Celtics' morale. While different players have stepped up at different times this season, Rondo's constant determination would really have helped to fuel the Celtics this year.

Fortunately, according to Rondo, his rehabilitation seems to be on-track for a return to the court in the early part of next season.
“Every ACL surgery they say you can start running in about 4-6 months [after surgery],” he said. “I think that’s when I’ll start running. That’s in the textbook of ACL rehab. I don’t know how long training camp is from my surgery. I get in between 6-12 months.”

“Everybody’s different,” Rondo said. “I can walk. I should be walking by now and I can walk. I can’t jump. I can’t run, but I’m walking, so for me that’s on schedule.”

While he can't be on the court for the Celtics, we learned last week that Rondo has accepted a role in assisting with coaching duties from the sidelines. And from what Doc Rivers indicates, he seems to be pretty good at it:
"He probably coaches as much as anybody," said Doc Rivers. "I don't know if it helps, I think it does. As a player you tend to listen to the players in the uniforms over the suits and ties. So we'll see. He was great today in shootaround. He knew every set the Knicks were running. When we called out a set to talk through it, he was pointing where everybody should be."

I'm sure the Celtics appreciate Rondo's pointers from the sidelines, but I think the players and fans would agree that his presence is sorely missed on the court. Let's hope that Rondo is able to make a full recovery from his ACL injury and can lead the Celtics to many more championship banners in the future.

Follow DH on Twitter @dhobeika

Danielle Hobeika 4/30/2013 01:05:00 AM Edit
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