Hawks: Rondo didn't show signs of injury

Hawks: Rondo didn't show signs of injury
March 9, 2013, 1:45 pm
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Don't look for any kind of Rajon Rondo-to-the-Knicks deal, says A. Sherrod Blakely.

(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON -- Rajon Rondo thought he had injured his hamstring. His opponents, the Atlanta Hawks, didn't suspect anything at all.

Rondo suffered a season-ending ACL tear the last time the Celtics and Hawks faced off, January 25 in Atlanta. He played 45 minutes in the Celtics double-overtime loss and disguised any signs of discomfort, let alone a torn ligament.

"It didn't look torn to me," said Devin Harris. "I had to guard him the later part of that game and it looked like he was moving pretty good. There's not one particular play you can pick out and say, ok that's where he did it. Late in the game he still had his explosiveness and still was trying to get to the basket."

Two days after the game, the initial report on Rondo was a hyperextended right knee. However an MRI revealed the extent of his injury. The Hawks were caught off guard by the announcement.

"[I didn't expect it] at all," said Al Horford. "He certainly didn't show it. I was surprised. I can't imagine playing on a torn ACL."

Echoed Harris, "I was shocked. He didn't show any signs of fatigue or that he was only playing with one good leg."

The Celtics entered Friday's game 13-4 since losing Rondo. They have filled the void in their backcourt with improved team ball movement and the involvement of more players. The Hawks had to adjust to those changes facing the Celtics for the first time Friday night without Rondo.

"You go from a team where he primarily handled the ball to a team that moves the ball a lot better," said Harris. "I think they've had 30 assists as a team, so I think they're a little more dangerous in the fact that a lot more guys are touching the ball. Guys are confident now and I think they're a lot tougher to guard at this point."

The Hawks saw the difference in the Celtics as the C's outlasted them in overtime, 107-102. With a win, the Celtics moved improved to 34-27.

"I didn't think they would probably be doing this well because Rondo brings so much to the table for them," said Horford. "It shows character from their team and from their coach especially. I think he's done a good job, Coach Rivers, in keeping them together and making them believe they can still be one of the top teams in the East."

DEVIN HARRIS

It didn't look torn to be. I had to guard him the later part of that game and it looked like he was moving pretty good. There's not one particular play you can pick out and say, ok that's where he did it. Late in the game he still had his explosiveness and still was trying to get to the basket.

I was shocked. He didn't show any signs of fatigue or that he was only playing with one good leg.

You go from a team where he primarily handled the ball to a team that moves the ball a lot better. I think they've had 30 assists as a team so I think they're a little more dangerous in the fact that a lot more guys are touching the ball. Guys are confident now and I think they're a lot tougher to guard at this point.

AL HORFORD

I didn't think they would probably be doing this well because Rondo brings so much to the table for them. It shows character from their team and from their coach especially. I think he's done a good job, Coach Rivers, in keeping them together and making them believe they can still be one of the top teams in the East.

Difference?

I think it has to do with there's more ball movement. Obviously when you have a guy like Rondo, he can create for everyone. That's kind of a luxury. When you don't have a guy like that you have to rely more on ball movement and different guys stepping in, and that's what they're doing.

No not at all. He certainly didn't show it. I was surprised. I can't imagine playing on a torn ACL.