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Celtics' Rondo tears right ACL; season over

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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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Aces' Liz Cambage tells Mystics forwards to 'get in the weight room or get out of the post'

Aces' Liz Cambage tells Mystics forwards to 'get in the weight room or get out of the post'

One of the WNBA’s most dominant players is Liz Cambage of the Las Vegas Aces. She’s unforgiving, wears her heart on her chest, and is truly one of a kind.

When the center is playing her finest basketball no one in the league can stop her. Sunday's Game 3 of the WNBA Semifinals against the Washington Mystics had Cambage playing at her finest. 

Matching her season-high, Cambage waltzed to 28 points in only 27 minutes of playing time. Several Mystics took their turn at trying to slow her down. Every Mystic had a chance to help at least at double-teaming the Ace's leading scorer. Primarily it was Emma Meesseman and LaToya Sanders that drew the assignment responsibility, but everyone had a role.

It did not matter in Las Vegas. Throughout the whole contest, Cambage rolled over the interior of the Mystics defense. She scored at ease as the tallest player on either roster for the Mystics and the Aces. 

The Australian knew she could not be stopped. Postgame she analyzed why she was able to command the post so well on ESPN2’s broadcast. In the process, she put several Mystics on blast. 

“They got small forwards guarding me. If they can’t handle it, get in the weight room or get out of the post. That’s what I’m doing. I’m doing my thing inside,” Cambage told Kim Adams.

She’s talking about the 6-4 Meesseman, the 6-3 Sanders. But it doesn't matter whomever the Mystics put on the 6-8 Cambage, there will be a significant matchup advantage for the Aces. 

Not only does she have a clear edge in her height, but she does her build as well. Cambage possesses the ideal structure of a WNBA center. She stands at 216 pounds, 30 pounds more than either of the Mystics primary defenders on her. Sanders’ lanky frame has its advantages in the Mystics run-and-gun offense, but not what you see from a stereotypical center. Meesseman is a better matchup defensively, size-wise but she spots Cambage five inches. 

This is not an oddity though for Washington. There are a minute few in the WNBA that can walk alongside Cambage. As the third-tallest player in the league, only the Phoenix Mercury’s Brittany Griner (6-9) and the New York Liberty’s Han Xu (6-9) position higher.

Despite the clear physical dominance, Cambage is erratic at times. While she wears her emotions, those also tend to get her in trouble with her aggressive play and in dealing with officials. When frustrated, sometimes she struggles to even get a shot on rim.  

This is partly why Cambage’s play was highlighted so much in Game 3. The first two games of the series had Cambage as her own worst enemy. Visibly she was upset with some calls and non-calls by the officials. Timely fouls also limited her flow on the court. 

Neither was the case in Game 3. Fouls went her way. She even got away with a brash elbow to Meesseman’s face why trying to keep the lane clear. The non-call resulted in Mike Thibault losing his cool and getting a technical foul.

It’s also not the first time that Cambage has flailed an elbow to Meesseman. Game 2 saw her earn a technical foul for that same behavior. 

Either way, Cambage is a matchup nightmare against the Mystics. During the regular season, the Mystics – led by Sanders’ defense – kept Cambage to under 15 points in all three of their matchups. In three games in this series, the 28-year-old has 19, 23 and 28 points; progressively getting better in each game. 

Washington still holds a 2-1 lead and is a game away from returning to the WNBA Finals. However, they have to find an answer to slow down the tenacious Cambage. 

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Right or wrong, Daniel Jones' performance turns up pressure on Redskins and Dwayne Haskins

Right or wrong, Daniel Jones' performance turns up pressure on Redskins and Dwayne Haskins

The Giants turned to their rookie quarterback Daniel Jones on Sunday, and he delivered a fantastic performance and got New York their first win of the year.

Whether it should or not, that turns up the pressure on Redskins rookie QB Dwayne Haskins. 

Jones turned in a tremendous game in his first ever NFL start, completing 22 of 36 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two scores, including the game-winner late in the fourth quarter. The New York tabloids will likely go nuts after Jones' effort, and while it's likely overkill, the former Duke Blue Devil looked completely in control of his game and the Giants offense. 

He was good, and right or wrong, that's going to lead a lot of people to look at the Redskins and their plan for Haskins. 

Let's be clear — current Washington starter Case Keenum has acquitted himself well through two games. He's gone for 600 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. The Redskins are 0-2,  but it hasn't been Kenum's fault. 

That said, Keenum hasn't been great either. He's missed some big opportunities down the field and held on to the ball a little too long  in a few spots that have finished in sacks. 

If Keenum wins Monday night against Chicago, the Redskins will stick with him Week 4 in New York. 

But should the Redskins lose, whether it's Keenum's fault or not, the pressure to go to Haskins will be immense. Washington would be wise to not cave to that pressure, but it's going to be intense. 

Remember, Jones went 6th overall to New York and Haskins went 15th overall to the Redskins. Many expected the Giants to take Haskins at 6, and he grew up in New Jersey rooting for Big Blue. That didn't happen, and Haskins got to come to the Redskins and stay in the D.C. area, where he played his high school football. 

The NFL hype machine can't be stopped. The Redskins know that. 

If Keenum doesn't win Monday night, and there could be a million reasons for a win or loss outside of his control, that hype machine will push hard for Haskins vs. Jones. 

The Redskins should ignore the hype, but sometimes, it just can't be stopped. 

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