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.