Rondo (hip) questionable for Grizzlies game

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Rondo (hip) questionable for Grizzlies game

WALTHAM Just as the Celtics prepare to welcome one guard back, they may find themselves having to go to battle without their best one.

Rajon Rondo is still battling a right hip injury suffered against the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 27 after a hip-check from Matt Barnes, and he is questionable for Thursday's game against Memphis.

Rondo missed the C's loss at Golden State only to return for the following game at Sacramento where it was clear that the injury had a major impact on his performance.

"When you get beat down the court by a big, it's frustrating," Rondo said. "My style of play, I can't play as quick as I want to (with the injury)."

And that puts the C's in the precarious position of trying to figure out if Rondo at less than full strength is better than no Rondo at all.

As far as how the injury impacted his play in the Kings loss, C's coach Doc Rivers pointed out how the boxscore told the story.

"When his guy (Isaiah Thomas) scores 27 and he (Rondo) scores two, I think that tells you basically all you need to know," Rivers said. "He couldn't move much."

And the C's decision to hold him out of practice on Wednesday means he won't be moving around much today, making it truly a game-time decision as to whether he will face the Grizzlies.

"We talked after the game and I couldn't give an answer as to whether he was helping or hurting the team with the way he was moving," Rivers said. "But you want him on the floor. It's a tough call."

Also challenging will be the decision to rest him, and whether that's what is needed in order for his currently injury to heal properly.

The one clear upside in sitting Rondo for Wednesday's game is that the C's won't play again until Friday, which would provide Rondo with additional time to heal.

"If that's what it takes," said Rivers who added, "but it's not anything he could further injure. I always look at two things; that's one. The other is if it limits him, how quickly can he get healthy by not playing? So if someone says if he doesn't play for three days, he'll get healthier or if you play it doesn't matter. It'll take a week or so. That's what we'll decide by tomorrow."

If Rondo is unable to play, this would be the fifth game he has missed this season. The Celtics are 1-3 without him.

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins . . .

1) David Price isn’t having fun

Boston’s $217 million-dollar arm had another rough outing -- this time against a team that already has 60 losses.

Those are the team’s he’s supposed to dominate.

“It’s been terrible,” Price said on how his season has gone following the loss. “Just awful.”

Price’s mistakes have often been credited to mechanical mishaps this year. Farrell mentioned that following his start in New York, Price spent time working on getting more of a downhill trajectory on his pitches.

But Price doesn’t think his issue is physical.

So it must be mental -- but he doesn’t feel that’s the case either.

“Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those,” Price said when asked which he thought was a factor. “It’s me going out there and making pitches. “

But when it comes down to the barebones, pitching -- much like anything else -- is a physical and mental act.

So when he says it’s neither, that’s almost impossible. It could be both, but it has to be one.

His mind could be racing out on the mound from a manifestation of the issues he’s had throughout the season.

Or it could just be that his fastball isn’t changing planes consistently, like Farrell mentioned.

Both could be possible too, but it takes a certain type of physical approach and mental approach to pitch -- and Price needs to figure out which one is the issue, or how to address both. 

2) Sandy Leon might be coming back to Earth

Over his last five games, Boston’s new leading catcher is hitting .176 (3-for-17), dropping his average to .395.

A couple things have to be understood. His average is still impressive. In the five games prior to this dry spell, Leon went 7-for-19 (.368) But -- much like Jackie Bradley Jr. -- Leon hasn’t been known for his offensive output throughout his career. So dry spells are always tests of how he can respond to adversity and make necessary adjustments quickly.

Furthermore, if he’s not so much falling into a funk as opposed to becoming the real Sandy Leon -- what is Boston getting?

Is his run going to be remembered as an exciting run that lasted much longer than anyone expected? Or if he going to show he’s a legitimate hitter that can hit at least -.260 to .280 with a little pop from the bottom of the line-up?

What’s more, if he turns back into the Sandy Leon he’s been throughout his career, the Red Sox will have an interesting dilemma on how to handle the catching situation once again.

3) Heath Hembree has lost the momentum he gained after being called up.

Following Saturday’s contest, the right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after an outing where he went 1/3 of an inning, giving up a run on three hits -- and allowing some inherited runners to score.

Hembree at one point was the savior of the bullpen, stretching his arm out over three innings at a time to bail out the scuffling Red Sox starting rotation that abused it’s bullpen.

His ERA is still only 2.41 -- and this has been the most he’s ever pitched that big league level -- but the Red Sox have seen a change in him since the All-Star break.

Which makes sense, given that hitters have seven hits and two walks against him in his 1.1 innings of work -- spanning four games since the break.

“He’s not confident pitcher right now,” John Farrell said about Hembree before announcing his demotion. “As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year -- and really in the whole first half -- the four times out since the break have been the other side of that.”

Joe Kelly will be the pitcher to replace Hembree and Farrell hopes to be able to stretch him out over multiple innings at a time, as well.