WALTHAM, Mass. — Avery Bradley may be making his return at just the right time for the Celtics, who must be wondering if their backcourt will ever be whole.
Rajon Rondo did not practice on Tuesday, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers said earlier in the day that the point guard is questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies. Rondo has a bruised right thigh and hip as a result of a knee he took from Matt Barnes during Thursday’s loss in Los Angeles.
The most frustrating part for Rondo and the Celtics is that they do not know if the injury is one that he can play through or that will only get better with rest.
“I don’t know, I’ve never had this type of injury,” Rondo said, wearing a pair of gray slippers while sitting off to the side of the court at the Celtics’ practice facility. “I got kneed in the bone, and it’s just kind of nagging. It’s nothing too serious, but it affects me a little bit. Obviously, my style of play is speed, and I’m not able to plant as quick as I would like to right now, but I’ve been getting treatment every day.”
Rondo sat out Saturday’s loss to Golden State and his status for Sunday’s game against the Kings was so uncertain that Leandro Barbosa endured a 16-hour journey from Brazil, where he had been tending to a personal matter, to Sacramento in case the Celtics needed his aid in the backcourt. Rondo ended up starting and playing 36 minutes against the Kings, but the thigh clearly limited his mobility.
With Rondo hobbling, Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas went off for 27 points in the Celtics’ 118-96 loss.
“When his guy scores 27 and he scores two, I think that tells you basically all you need to know,” Rivers said. “He couldn’t move much. We talked after the game and I couldn’t give him an answer whether he was helping or hurting the team with how he was moving. You want him on the floor, but it was just a tough call.”
Rondo’s limitations were highlighted early in the game in Sacramento. DeMarcus Cousins, the mercurial center who has been connected to the Celtics in numerous trade rumors, intercepted a pass by Rondo and outran the point guard for an uncontested layup less than six minutes into the first quarter. As Rondo said Tuesday, “when you’re getting beat down the court by a big, that’s frustrating.”
The Celtics have yet to use the duo they projected as their starting backcourt during the offseason. Jason Terry has started 22 games and Courtney Lee has started 11 games as Rivers mixes and matches his backcourt pairing while waiting for both Rondo and Bradley to be healthy at the same time. Bradley will make his season debut Wednesday.
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