BOSTON — Rajon Rondo is a big fan of being a stylish trendsetter, but the vertically placed band-aid between his eyebrows is definitely not his way of making a fashion statement.
It covers a gash that required nine stitches to close after he was hit with an inadvertent elbow in the third quarter.
But it would take more than a facial wound to keep Rondo off the floor, evident by his return on Wednesday in the fourth quarter.
Even with Rondo's return, it still wasn't enough as the Celtics could not withstand Toronto's slew of 3-pointers that would be the final touch on the Raptors' 99-90 victory.
When the injury initially happened, Celtics coach Brad Stevens feared that he might have a broken nose.
But Rondo, who finished one point shy of what would have been his 10th double-double this season, had no doubts about his return.
"I knew I could," said Rondo who had nine points and a game-high 15 assists. "I didn't feel I had a concussion."
Rond said he was asked a couple of questions and answered them correctly.
"I know they're pretty cautious [about concussions]," Rondo said.
Still, Rondo was determined to give the Celtics as good a shot at winning as possible.
And that meant his return in the fourth quarter.
"I just want to win," he said. "I hate losing."
With the Raptors on the cusp of officially being in the playoffs and for the most part controlling most of the action on Wednesday, no one would have been shocked if Rondo and the Celtics decided to just shut him down for the rest of the game.
Stevens was pleased with Rondo's desire to play despite the head injury.
"I think the most important part about it is he came back in and guarded [DeMar] DeRozan," Stevens said.
Rondo returned with 8:05 to play. In that time, DeRozan only scored three points.
"He [Rondo] went after it and I though he did a pretty good job on him," Stevens said.
Rondo's backcourt mate, Avery Bradley, wasn't surprised to turn around and see his partner back in the game.
"That's the kind of player he is," said Bradley who had 16 points. "He's tough, he wants to win. I knew he would come back without skipping a beat. He gave us a chance to get back into the game at the end."
But in the end, it's the eventual outcome - another loss - that sticks with Rondo.
"We have to find a way to get stops the last couple of minutes of the game," Rondo said. "We have the same team Friday and get a chance to redeem ourselves."
There will be decisions in terms of game-planning and execution that have to be made between now and then.
And of course there's also a decision as to how Rondo will handle his facial cut.
"It's a band-aid now," he said. "I might try to wear - but I doubt it - a mask."