The Boston Celtics had a bittersweet Sunday as they were able to get a big win at home, but the team also learned that Rajon Rondo has a torn ACL. He will miss the remainder of the season and is likely to have surgery soon on his right knee according to ESPN's Chris Forsberg.
Replacing an elite player like Rondo will be an extremely difficult task. The point guard from Kentucky was recently chosen as a starter for the Eastern squad in the 2013 NBA All-Star Game. It was the first time Rondo was voted a starter in his fourth All-Star selection.
He was putting together a superb season for the Celtics. He is currently leading the NBA in assists, dishing out 11.1 per game this season. Also, Rondo was averaging 13.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and a team-high 1.84 steals a game. The Celtics point guard has played the most minutes per game (37.4) on the roster and also was shooting a productive 48.4 percent from the floor.
That kind of production is very rare, especially from a point guard. Boston will miss his passing, defense and floor general capability. Though it is a difficult task, Boston continues to move forward aiming at another NBA championship, now without Rondo.
Boston will need further production from every member of the squad the rest of the season. Notably, guards Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley and Leandro Barbosa will need to step up their games drastically.
In the Celtics' 100-98 double-overtime victory over Miami Sunday, those four players made contributions, but did not manage to shoot the ball well. Terry added 13 points, but made just one of his seven three-point tries. Courtney Lee made just one basket the whole game while Bradley and Barbosa each added nine points.
For Boston to recover from such a devastating injury, Terry will need to take over as the go-to guard and must be a reliable outside shooter. Bradley will need to be the one to spark the Celtics' fast-break offense without Rondo in the lineup.
Rondo has had the most triple-doubles in the entire league with five.
Sunday, Paul Pierce gave his best Rondo impersonation, putting forth a triple-double of his own. Pierce had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against Miami. Pierce will need to handle the ball more and continue distributing the ball as he did on Sunday.
Lately there have been numerous trade rumors involving the Celtics, and those grumblings are flourishing even more with Rondo out. It had been rumored that the Celtics were pursuing Rudy Gay, but ESPN's Marc Stein believes a trade with Memphis is unlikely. More-likely targets, according to Stein, are the Dallas Mavericks' Mike James and the Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry.