The outlook was bleak.
Rajon Rondo's season-ending knee injury was certain to hurt the Celtics hopes for a playoff berth. How could Boston possibly survive without its offensive catalyst, the NBA leader in assists and triple-doubles and one of the best rebounding guards in the league?
But not only have the Celtics survived, they've thrived.
They're 6-0 since Rondo tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, including wins over LeBron James and the Miami Heat and Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers. They've adjusted quickly to coach Doc Rivers' new approach now that Rondo isn't controlling the ball, waiting to make a pass or drive to the basket:
Shoot it if you're open, pass it quickly if you're not and spread the court to get more unchallenged looks at the basket.
And they're 4-0 since losing another key player for the season when rookie Jared Sullinger, an outstanding rebounder, underwent back surgery.
''Our guys just think they're good,'' Rivers said after ...