Rondo's ACL tear puts Celtics on emotional roller coaster

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Rondo's ACL tear puts Celtics on emotional roller coaster

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics filed into their locker room, riding the momentum of a double-overtime victory against the Miami Heat. Rajon Rondo hadn't played; he was a late scratch to receive an MRI for a hyperextended right knee. Some of the Celtics had heard rumblings of a more severe injury during the game but brushed it off as a rumor.

Once they entered the locker room, Rondo delivered the news. He informed his teammates he had suffered a torn right ACL on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks and would require season-ending surgery.

"It's a blow, man. I'm not even going to front, it was a blow," said Kevin Garnett. "We were in here just talking about the game, and then he walks in and 'Do (Rondo is) really hype. He was quiet and the staff came in and told us what's going on."

The mood changed in an instant, as Courtney Lee demonstrated to media after the game.

"I'm going to do this for you, remember this," Lee said, then let out a loud sigh of disappointment.

Rondo is the Celtics floor general, averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game this season. He also plays a major role in the locker room.

"It was hard," said Avery Bradley. "I could see it on his face. You didn't know what he was going to say. When he said it, everybody's head just went down. We went from cheering to being sad."

Lee further described the atmosphere, "It was emotional in here when he told everybody. KG got everybody out of the locker room, talked a little bit, expressed what needed to be done. It was emotional, like I said. Other than that, we've got to move forward. It's sad news, but we've got to fulfill his shoes the best way we can. That's just going out and playing hard."

The element of surprise enhanced the sudden disappointment. Rondo had played through the injury Friday night and warmed up prior the game on Sunday. He wasn't removed from the lineup until close to tip off.

"I was definitely shocked by the news," said Paul Pierce. "I thought he was suiting up tonight. We didn't learn until a couple minutes before the game that he was getting an MRI."

He continued, "You're on an emotional high in the locker room and then you see that Rondo's probably going to be out for the season. You have a lot of mixed emotions in here. You want to celebrate the win, but you know you feel for your teammate, a leader. Pretty much wherever he goes, we go. It's hard knowing that he's going to be out for the year. It's a tough pill to swallow."

The Celtics locker room was more somber than the Heat, who had been defeated, 100-98. The Celtics knew they lost far more.

"It's pretty sad," said Leandro Barbosa. "He's a big key for our team and it's tough. It's tough to take it, but we are a group and we're going to support him in anything that happened to him. I'm sure he will be cheering for us, too. But we love him and we got his back."

The Celtics will search for answers, taking the rest of the season game by game. They know they cannot replace Rondo, they will have to find ways to win without him.

Said Garnett, "He's becoming the heart and soul of this team."

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Steve Bulpett joins Mike Felger to weigh in on the NBA trade deadline and the lack of moves made by Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics thus far.

Drummond on tweets and trade talk: 'I can change my profile if I want to'

Drummond on tweets and trade talk: 'I can change my profile if I want to'

BOSTON – If you believe what Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons are saying, then the former UConn star will not be on the move prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. ESTtrade deadline.

Drummond, whose social media posts on Monday and later Tuesday morning only perpetuated the belief that he might be traded to Boston, addressed the trade speculation surrounding him after the Piston’s practice on Tuesday.

“What’s that got to do with my team?” he told reporters. “I can’t control what happens with trade rumors.”

Drummond was then reminded of the eyeballs emoji he posted Tuesday morning, which came less than 24 hours after he re-tweeted Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas’ eyeballs emoji – a similar posting to what Thomas did around the time Boston landed Al Horford last summer.

So as fans and media tried to piece the tweets together like they were clues to a Jessica Fletcher mystery, Drummond did his best to splash cold water on the trade talk on Tuesday.

“I’m a grown man,” he said. “I can change my profile if I want to. It doesn’t matter what time of year. If y’all want to speculate about that and me, go for it.”

Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy has made no secret about the Pistons having conversations with several teams about all their players.

“Some discussions get more serious than others and that’s what happens,” Van Gundy told reporters following the team’s practice on Tuesday. “There hasn’t been a serious discussion about Andre, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been discussions about Andre.

Van Gundy added, “The rumors don’t mean anything to me. One of you (media) guys asked me over the weekend how far along the D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green trade for Reggie was. The first time I heard about it was when I got that text, so I would assume not that far. I usually can just laugh it off, but it gets a little annoying.”