With Rajon Rondo's return date still in question, it seems fair to ask: Is it such a bad thing if he misses some regular season games?

It would be nice to know that the team's best player is 100 percent and ready to play on opening night for peace of mind's sake, but does it really matter to the team now or for the future?

After Boston sent its captain Paul Pierce and its soul Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn this summer, championship expectations have all but evaporated. This team got much younger over the offseason and less talented. Sure, there are some nice pieces with Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and rookie Kelly Olynyk that could be used to build a contender in the future, but not now. Someone would have to be drug tested if they honestly thought this team had a chance to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, let alone dethrone the Heat.

The Celtics are rebuilding, having a ton of draft picks over the next several years and cap space they could use to sign free agents. There is also a pretty stacked draft coming up in 2014 where several of the prospects have been labeled franchise-type talents. So what's the harm if Rondo misses a few games here and there?

No Rondo means less chances to win means better chance at a top pick. This isn't the dreaded T-word (tanking) per se, but there is no need to rush Rondo back to the court just yet. It's not like he needs time to mesh with his teammates and get back into the swing of things for a playoff run. Who even knows how many of the players on the roster will still be around when the team is competitive again? The players he will have to jive with, like Olynyk, will get plenty of minutes with No. 9 as the season goes on.

The only real argument that could be made for getting Rondo back into his green jersey as soon as possible is if the team were looking to trade him. Other teams are going to want to make sure Rondo is the Rondo of old if they are going to try and acquire him. If not, if Rondo is going to be a biggest piece to be built around in Boston going forward, then make damn sure the guy is as healthy as humanly possible before letting him test that knee in game action.

So go ahead Rondo, take your time. Build that knee up nice and strong. Don't worry if the team loses a bunch of games in your absence, you aren't fighting for a title right now anyway and those losses could end up bringing in a very nice rookie to help you get your next ring.

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Eric Blaisdell 9/19/2013 05:55:00 PM Edit
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