Celtics' Rondo tears right ACL; season over


Celtics' Rondo tears right ACL; season over

BOSTON (AP) Boston Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The news came during Boston's 100-98 double-overtime win over the Miami Heat on Sunday in which Ray Allen returned to his old home court for the first time.

``New guys are going to get an opportunity now,'' Boston forward Paul Pierce said. ``These guys haven't had a chance to really showcase what they can do.''

For the past five seasons, Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett made up the Big Three. After Allen signed with the Heat as a free agent in the offseason, Rondo joined that group - and became the team leader with his ability to run the offense.

He was chosen as the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game in Houston on Feb. 17.

Now the Celtics hope he can be ready for the start of next season.

``How far is that?'' coach Doc Rivers said, ``I don't even know how long that is. Eight months? Nine months? So he'll probably be ready, but I don't know.

Rondo injured his right knee in Friday night's 123-112 double-overtime loss in Atlanta, a game in which the Celtics blew a 27-point lead, but Rivers said he didn't know when.

He reported to the TD Garden on Sunday for a pregame shootaround but was taken to a hospital after complaining of pain.

The initial report was a hyperextended knee, but tests showed the ACL tear.

Rivers said he learned about 25 minutes before the game that Rondo wouldn't play. Word of the injury's severity came during the game.

``He was telling me he thought he pulled his hamstring,'' Rivers said, ``Rondo will be fine. He just will not be fine this year.''

The team made the announcement during Sunday's win in the nationally televised game that snapped a losing streak that had reached six games despite back-to-back triple-doubles by Rondo.

``We've just got to rally around each other,'' Pierce said. ``I feel for him. He was having such a good season. It's disappointing news.''

As Celtics players walked off the court through a tunnel toward their locker room, Rondo, dressed in street clothes, greeted them.

``I know he's sad. I'm sad for him,'' starting guard Avery Bradley said. ``Whatever Doc wants me to play, that's what I'm going to do.''

Rondo was averaging career highs of 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds along with 11.1 assists this season.

Still, the Celtics are struggling to remain around .500, finishing the day with a 21-23 record, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics have no true point guard behind Rondo. Rivers said he didn't know if they would try to add one.

Jason Terry, known for his outside shooting, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa and Bradley are the other guards. Each played at least 25 minutes Sunday with Lee starting in Rondo's place.

``We knew something was up at the beginning, but we didn't know how serious it was,'' Lee said. ``Nobody can fill his shoes. That's what makes him great. So the only thing we can do is work as hard as possible and keep the momentum going from this game and have no letup.''

Rondo suffered a dislocated left elbow in the playoffs on May 7, 2011, when he became entangled with Miami's Dwyane Wade.

Boston won 97-81, but Miami won the next two games to clinch the second-round series in five games.

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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Detroit Red Wings

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Mich.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Red Wings will be broadcast on NBCSN.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (42-24-7) take on the Red Wings (27-35-11) Thursday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Detroit.


The Capitals-Red Wings game will be broadcast on NBCSN. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Check back with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Red Wings (on NBCSN)
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Red Wings game:

Alex Ovechkin -  Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Jakub Jerabek


You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.