Rondo re-aggravates hand injury


Rondo re-aggravates hand injury

By A. Sherrod Blakely

NEW ORLEANS Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo has not been himself recently, and now we know why.

The Celtics' all-star point guard has been battling a right pinkie injury, one that Rondo said has been bothering him for the past couple of weeks.

Rondo revealed the injury following Boston's 89-85 win at New Orleans, a game in which Rondo re-aggravated the injury and had to leave the game.

"My finger, my hand went numb," Rondo said. "I was a little concerned about it, going back in."

Rondo eventually returned to the floor, with the finger taped up - something he said he has been doing for the past couple of weeks.

Even before Saturday's win, there were signs that Rondo was starting to get closer to playing like he has throughout most of this season.

On Saturday, Rondo had his jumper going to the tune of nine points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field.

"They were cool. It felt good to hit a shot, more than one," quipped Rondo. "It was a relief. Coaches kept believing in me. I kept working at it, put the time and effort in."

He'll need to continue doing that, because teams will continue to give him the mid-range jumper until he forces them to defend him more straight-up.

As for his injury, it's not expected to keep him out of action.

But it does give Celtics head coach Doc Rivers another reason to continue pursuing ways to cut his minutes down.

During Boston's up and down play of late, a reduction in Rondo's minutes has indeed occurred.

He averages more than 34 minutes per game this season, but has played fewer than that in each of Boston's last five games.

Rivers has marveled at times at how Rondo has grown both as a player and a person, one who is on the road to recovery from his first major slump since emerging as one of the league's top point guards.

"This has been good for him," Rivers said. "You go through stages in your career, you go through struggles. This was really good for him."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”