Last week Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers were both asked to comment on Rajon Rondo's knee injury and his possible return. Both said they did not know. In an era when injury updates are all the rage, and twitter and facebook allow for athletes to post pictures and videos of themselves doing seemingly impossible feats while their knee is still healing from a major surgey, Rajon Rondo has shirked from the limelight.
Robert Griffin III destroyed his knee on January 6 against the Seattle Seahawks. That is just 22 days before news broke that Rondo had torn ACL while playing a game against the Atlanta Hawks. On Monday night, RGIII made his miraculous return to the field, missing only the pre-season games and seeing limited practice time during training camp. His recovery was covered endlessly by ESPN, videos of strength training were posted. He was a monster, ready for the gridiron once again.
During the Washington Redskins' Monday Night Football loss to the Phildelphia Eagles, RGIII had a pretty mediocre game. He looked a bit shaky throwing the ball, the offense did not score a touchdown until the 4th quarter, and the team could not close the 33-7 gap that had developed over the first three quarters (the only points coming off a fumble recovery).
Was RGIII ready to come back? Probably. Did his presence effect the team negatively? Probably not. However, Celtics fans have to start thinking about what they want their star point guard to do as he rehabs his torn ACL, which was must less serious than Griffin's.
Adrian Peterson won the MVP last year following a torn ACL. He nearly broke the single season rushing record. He brought the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs. Another ACL success story. Athletes are coming back faster and faster from injuries that used to take a year to recover.
Both Peterson and Griffin were injured in the last game of their respective seasons, just like Derrick Rose. Unlike Derrick Rose though, Peterson and Griffin III returned for opening day the following season.
Why do NBA players miss so much more time following some of these injuries (not withstanding a trip to Germany….)? It could possibly be because NBA players have to play offense and defense. Peterson and Griffin are mainly going to be running straight forward, yes there is stress on their knees, but it seems different. With Rondo and Rose, they are playing on a hard court, with sticky sneakers, while playing both offense and defense. Running, jumping, cutting, planting. It seems much more stressful.
So what does RGIII's return to the field mean for Rondo? It means that people might be expecting him back sooner than he should be. The timetable for Rondo should not be connected with RGIII or Peterson (or maybe even Kobe) in mind, it should be more tied to Derrick Rose. Having the confidence to play defense and run an offense for 40-45 minutes a night for a bad team is risky, especially when a contract year looms in 2014-15.
Fans know that Rondo is a tough guy. He played with one arm in the 2011 playoffs after that brutal fall. He has nothing to prove with regards to his guys and competitiveness.
Danny Ainge's biggest decision this year might not have even come yet. The Celtics will have a healthy Rondo at some point, the key will be deciding when he is ready and how his health could affect the team this year and in the future.
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