Negative test for Rondo, positive news for C's

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Negative test for Rondo, positive news for C's

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM The Boston Celtics got a bit of good news on the injury front Sunday when the MRI results for Rajon Rondo came back negative.

Rondo suffered a dislocated left elbow in the third quarter, but somehow managed to return to the floor at the start of the fourth to help propel the Celtics to a 97-81 Game 3 victory.

When coach Doc Rivers was asked about Rondo's elbow, he said: "It hurts. And obviously it was far more painful today in some ways; a lot of swelling. That was expected."

Even with the MRI results coming back negative, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll see him play his usual minutes, or even at all.

"If he can play, how well can he play, and can he help our team?" Rivers said when asked what criteria will be used to determine if Rondo will participate in Game 4 Monday night. "We're not going to do anything, number one, to hurt the player. And we're not going to do anything to hurt the team. It may not be until game time, it may not be until in the game, that we find out (if he can play). Either one of those would be awful, but right now that may be the case."

The Celtics also have some concern about Rondo's backup Delonte West, who suffered a left shoulder injury in the first half of Boston's Game 3 victory, which cut the Heat's lead in the best-of-seven series, to 2-1.

West finished with 11 points off the Celtics bench - tops among C's reserves.

While West still has some soreness, it does not appear to be severe enough to limit him from at least playing in Game 4 on Monday.

"Delonte's injury, I think it'll come down to what he can tolerate," Rivers said.

Rivers said Shaquille O'Neal, who returned to the lineup for the first time since April 3, had some swelling as well.

"I think he's going to have that for the rest of his years," Rivers said.

Throughout the regular season, the Celtics have been dealing with an assortment of injuries.

So to have a number of key players banged up during the playoffs, that's just par for the course, for this Celtics team.

"If they're on the floor, we're healthy," Rivers said. "That's been my motto since I've been here, and our guys believe that. If you're in uniform, you're healthy. We'll make no excuses Monday . . . it's a playoff game. It's Game 4. We have to win. That's all we need to think about."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Highlights: Boston Celtics 109, Indiana Pacers 100

Highlights: Boston Celtics 109, Indiana Pacers 100

Catch the highlights of the Boston Celtics 109-100 win over the Indiana Pacers at home and hear from Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Al Horford.

Bradley 'not even tired' after playing 39 minutes vs. Pacers

Bradley 'not even tired' after playing 39 minutes vs. Pacers

BOSTON – As Avery Bradley made his way to the middle of the post-game media scrum inside the Boston Celtics locker room, he was informed that he had played 39 minutes in their 109-100 win over Indiana.

“I played 39?” Bradley said. “Man, I’m not even tired.”

And that may be the clearest sign to date that Bradley, a defensive pest who has been pestered by injuries this season, is as healthy as we’ve seen him in some time.

In addition to scoring 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, he also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out a couple of assists, had a steal and was the head of the defensive snake that made life as hard as possible on Paul George who still managed to have a big night scoring the ball.

For Bradley to play so many minutes is a bit of a surprise when you consider how overcautious the Celtics were with his return from a right Achilles injury that kept him out for 18 straight games.

Bradley attributes the Celtics having some time off leading up Wednesday’s game.

“It was good for us and we were definitely prepared (on Wednesday),” Bradley said. “And it showed we’re improving every day as a team. We’re really locking in when we need to.”

And while he was one of three different primary defenders on George (Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder were the others), Bradley was the guy head coach Brad Stevens turned to most consistently down the stretch.

Bradley was the only Celtic to play all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter. The only other players that were on the floor for the entire fourth quarter, were Indiana's Monta Ellis and George.

You think Bradley was out there to shut down (2-for-10 from the field) Ellis?

Uh … nope!

“He (Bradley) was on Paul some,” Stevens said. “Not the whole time he was in. Marcus (Smart) guarded him a lot. Jae (Crowder) guarded him some as well. We just felt like we had to rotate bodies on them. I did not plan on playing Avery quite that many minutes.”

Stevens put Bradley back in the game to start the second and fourth quarters, something he normally does for Terry Rozier who did not play (coaches decision).

“And he maybe sat a minute at the end of the second,” Stevens said. “So that’s 24 minutes and usually it’s about twelve-to-fifteen.”

The additional playing time is something Bradley certainly isn’t going to ever complain about.

The same holds true for the Celtics having clinched a playoff spot prior to Wednesday’s tip-off.

“I don’t think anyone talked about it,” Bradley said. “We were just treating this like any other game, try to be prepared, go out there and execute the offensive game plan … I feel we did a great job of doing that.”

Indeed, the Celtics are playing with a flow and overall rhythm that’s making it extremely tough on their foes.

“If you look at their roster, everybody knows what to expect out of everybody,” said Paul George. “There’s never a moment where a guy is like, ‘What kind of shot are you taking?’ or ‘what are you doing?’ They are beyond that.”