Rajon Rondo’s ‘partial’ ACL tear could have him back to the court quicker than anticipated

It’s all great news for the Boston Celtics these days!

To start, the team has won six in a row and has just about established that they’ll make this year’s playoff bracket. The team humiliated the very much humiliating Los Angeles Lakers in front of the giddy home fans on Thursday night. Kevin Garnett recently passed 25,000 career points, while working at home, while revealing yet again that he “bleeds green.” This means he’s turned fully sentient robot, and can play center for years!

[Related video: Watch Celtics blow out Lakers]

In more sobering, yet just as fortunate news, it turns out that point guard Rajon Rondo only has a partial tear of the ACL in his right knee. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com was the first to report that Rajon may not have to go through the same deliberate returns that Derrick Rose and Ricky Rubio have had to work through with their tears, and that he could return to full strength in only six months. From CSNNE.com:

"It's still too early to tell for sure," his agent Bill Duffy told CSNNE.com. "But we are very optimistic about his return now that we know his injury is only a partial tear and not a full tear."

Since he suffered the injury, Duffy said Rondo has been educating himself on all his options from which type of surgery to have performed to who will be the doctor performing it.

CSNNE.com reported earlier that the famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews was among the physicians Rondo planned to speak with before making a decision on the best course of action to take.

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears went on to report on Friday morning that “Rajon Rondo's surgery is expected to be on Feb 12 or 13 and will be a procedure using either his ligaments or a cadaver,” which would get the All-Star guard back on a court a month and a half before training camp hits.

This is all welcome news for Boston fans that are fearful of the same delays and frustrations that Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls fans have gone through. Ricky Rubio tore his ACL in early March of last season, while Derrick Rose tore his in late April. Rubio is active again, but he’s struggled terribly in his return – shooting just 31.1 percent in 21 games since his Dec. 15 return that was pitched some nine and a half months after his tear.

Rose is nearly nine and a half months removed from his tear, and due for a return after the All-Star break later this month. The prevailing notion, Adrian Peterson aside, is that these things take a full year to truly recover from, and that’s without taking into consideration the hesitancy and timing issues that come from having to work on a reconstructed knee.

[Related video: Bulls a legit title threat when Derrick Rose returns]

If Rondo’s is only a partial tear, he may not be faced with the same issues. To say nothing of the fact that his loping and cerebral style of play doesn’t rely on earth-shattering athleticism, and the idea that an injury to Rondo’s right knee (not the one he pushes off of to jump) isn’t as crippling as a left knee tear; as Rubio and Rose had.

As he nears his return, you’ll hear Boston fans and probably some NBA scribes bring up the fact that Rondo gritted his way through the final minutes of an overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks two weeks ago after his injury. That situation, though, was just about as unique as every basketball-related thing that Rajon Rondo has ever taken part in.

People play through torn ACLs all the time. Rondo is as tough as NBA players come, but this isn’t a sign of as much. It’s just a sign that he didn’t know why it was that his knee was bothering him. With that in place, Rondo working through an ACL tear during that Hawks game probably meant that he didn’t hear the same frightening “pop” that most other ACL tear sufferers get hit with almost immediately after the tear. It’s the sound of a strong ligament being split, disturbing stuff, while Rondo may have heard something less imposing.

What Boston’s front office is hearing is that teams aren’t as interested in their older players, at least not for the price the Celtics are asking for, and that Kevin Garnett is extremely limited in what team’s he’d waive his no-trade clause for in order to join. Which means the Celtics were probably never going to blow their team up, and the six-game winning streak probably has precious little to do with that summation.

What Rondo’s new injury news means, though, is that even this summer the Celtics will once again look to bring the gang back, instead of having to worry about Rondo’s entire 2013-14 campaign being wiped out both by rehab, and the slow returns to form that Rubio and Rose will have to work through. That’s a good thing.

What’s a bad thing is the knowledge that the Celtics are already slated to go over the luxury tax next season with the team’s rotation intact, while still needing to add several more players around the fringes. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of so many great players on the roster (yay), and the team’s strange overpaying of Jeff Green last summer (nay). Boston made its commitment to run with this group until 2014 last summer, and Rondo’s injury probably won’t change that.

The six game winning streak can be treated as another instance of Boston’s either/or nature – it was preceded by a six game losing streak, which was preceded by a six game winning streak, which came after a four game losing streak. The team is still in seventh place in the East, though, and 4.5 games up on the ninth place Philadelphia 76ers. As it stands, 43 wins probably grabs the last spot in the bracket (currently held by the Milwaukee Bucks), and Philly would have to go 22-12 (after starting 21-27) to break in. Even with Andrew Bynum potentially returning, that’s a hard sell to most.

Which means the Celtics can rest easy, while riding its veterans hard. While also knowing that the 2013-14 season might not turn out to be the waiting game we all anticipated.

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