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Garnett: Rajon Rondo is playing hurt

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 17: Kevin Garnett #5 and Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics talk before the Orlando Magic pass the ball in bounds on January 17, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Magic 109-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Rajon Rondo was 0-2 shooting with no points Wednesday night, the latest bad line in a slump that has been going on for a couple of weeks. Rondo looks slow and banged up.

Kevin Garnett stood up for Rondo, saying he is doing all he can right now, as reported by WEEI:

“Rondo’s playing hurt,” said Garnett. “He’s hurting. He’s giving us everything he has. He’s grinding. He’s playing countless minutes for us, and he’s not playing like a washed-up guy.”

We’re not talking a major injury here, we’re talking the bumps and bruises that come with an NBA season — but because of the lack of a quality point guard behind him, Rondo has played extra minutes and not had the chance to rest. The load is wearing on him.

That happens during the season, but the timing of it a month out from the playoffs has to be concerning to Celtics fans. They have a series of road trips with a lot of games ahead, and Boston is locked in a close battle with Chicago and Miami for home court in the East. They can’t really afford to rest Rondo too much, even though they need to.

Which is to say, Doc Rivers has some challenges and hard choices ahead of him getting this team ready for the playoffs.