Patriots

Is Rondo fit to lead the Celtics?

612498.jpg

Is Rondo fit to lead the Celtics?

For the sake of this column, lets assume that Rajon Rondo stays in Boston.

Of course, with Danny Ainge, to assume anything is to set yourself up for massive embarrassment. But at this point, with Chris Paul destined for one of two Staples Center locker rooms (or a crawl space in David Sterns basement), and the season less than two weeks away, lets go out on a limb and say that Rondo will be here on Christmas Day, Valentines Day and every day until the season ends.

If not, well at least we had this conversation.

As you know, on Tuesday morning, the Boston Herald ran a story on Rondo in which, among other things, Steve Beatlemania Bulpett detailed a behind-the-scenes altercation during last years playoffs.

It was an off-day in the Miami series, with the Celtics trailing 0-2 and Rondo a few quarters away from the most gruesome elbow injury this side of Andrew Bogut. As it goes, the team was watching film and Rondo was getting torched. Then

According to multiple sources, Rondos errors were being pointed out when he arose and began discussing the mistakes of his teammates. Loudly. Using harsh language.

Coach Doc Rivers got up and fired back, and Rondo threw a bottle that shattered the video screen. He bolted from the practice facility and was prevented from returning when he tried later.

Rondo eventually apologized, and later atoned with his Game 3 heroics, but the damage was clearly done. Someone wanted it out there.

Now it's in the headlines, and we're forced into another round of: What's wrong with Rondo?

(First of all, let me say that I don't really care what happened in that video room. Of course, it's an interesting story; it's always fun to look behind the curtain. But in general, it's not an enormous deal. This sort of thing happens all the time. (For instance, last Sunday on the Patriots sidelines). But seeing that this is hardly the first time we've heard something like this about Rondo, it's hard to ignore.)

On the court he's fine. Foul shots aside, he's a Top 5 point guard (Paul, Rose, Williams, Westbrook, Rondo) and still getting better. For 37 minutes a night, there are very few guys you'd rather have running your team. The Celtics are lucky to have him.

The problem is that Rondo hasn't matured off the court as much or as quickly as anyone would like. From the moment he signed that extension in 2009, he was pegged as the future of this team. He became the captain in waiting, and was expected to act as such. But two years later, he's still not there. There are still reasons to question whether he'll be able to become the face of the Celtics when the Big 3 fade away.

But more than "Can he lead the Celtics?" the more troublesome question is: "Does he even want to?"

Later on in Bulpett's story, Rondo talks about ways to improve his attitude:

Im not going to point the fingers on anybody, he said. Any relationship problems I have with anybody on the team or anybody on the coaching staff, I have to do better as a player and as a leader. You know, I didnt ask for this role, but its part of it for one, being a point guard, for two, the way I play. So I just have to embrace it better.

And that's my biggest fear right now for the Celtics.

That Rondo sees his leadership role as more of a burden than a passion. That leading the Boston Celtics is just something he has to deal with, as opposed to something he's dying to do.

With that attitude, it's very easy to say the right things in training camp, but when another thing entirely to step up when it matters. And only time will tell if Rondo has that in him.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury

patriots_tom_brady_092417.jpg

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Tom Brady sits out with Achilles injury

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski both sat out of the entirety of Wednesday's practice at Gillette Stadium. 

Brady is dealing with an Achilles injury, per the injury report released by the Patriots. The Boston Herald has reported that Brady will play despite the issue. It's unclear when exactly Brady suffered the injury, but Brady was hit low by Raiders pass-rusher Khalil Mack in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and Mack was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Gronkowski, like teammate David Andrews, is dealing with an illness. Patrick Chung, who left Sunday's game briefly, has an ankle issue. 

Here's the full injury report for both the Patriots and Dolphins . . . 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
C David Andrews (illness)
QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle)
S Patrick Chung (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
WR Danny Amendola (knee)
TE Marellus Bennett (shoulder/hamstring)
DT Malcom Brown (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)

MIAMI DOLPHINS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
LB Stephone Anthony (quadriceps)
G Jermon Bushrod (foot)
QB Jay Cutler (concussion)
DE William Hayes (back)
T Laremy Tunsill (illness)

FULL PARTICIPATION
RB Senorise Perry (knee)
S Michael Thomas (knee)

 

Morning Skate: Dad's texts and emails reveal enforcer's sad story

stephen-peat-112217.jpg

Morning Skate: Dad's texts and emails reveal enforcer's sad story

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wishing everybody a safe night before Thanksgiving. Be careful out there, people.

*The New York Times has a very sad story on former NHL enforcer Stephen Peat, as told to the Times through a series of emails and texts from Peat’s dad as he struggles with a number of seemingly concussion-related issues in his post-hockey life.

*There’s nothing better than some Benn on Benn brotherly crime as Jordie Benn lays a hit on Jamie Benn in the Stars vs. Habs game.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Marc Spector has the Edmonton Oilers hitting a new low after they quit in a loss to the St. Louis Blues.

*Duncan Keith said he wants to play until he’s 45 and defy the odds as one of the few that get a chance to play pro hockey for that long.

*Dylan Larkin is flourishing with the Detroit Red Wings as he’s adding more responsibility to his chores in Hockeytown.

*A Happy Thanksgiving to the Boychuks and all the other great people around the NHL, including Matt Beleskey with the Bruins, who take time out of their days to help make sure everybody has a good meal on Turkey Day.

*For something completely different: Excited for my kids that there is going to be more Trolls in their future starting with a Christmas special on Friday.