Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will be out indefinitely after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in right knee in Friday’s 123-111 double-overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks, according to ESPN.
The team announced Sunday that Rondo will have to undergo surgery, but a date for the operation has yet to be decided and his recovery time still remains unclear. He could potentially be ready to return for the start of the 2013-14 season.
Rondo is a pivotal part of the Celtics offense, who are currently on a six-game losing streak entering Sunday’s matchup against the Miami Heat. The All-Star point guard had been averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game in 38 appearances this season.
Rondo’s injury was initially listed as a hyperextended right knee and he attempted to warm for Sunday’s game. After warming up, Rondo consulted with team trainers and they determined that his injury had not improved. He was scratched from the team roster and traveled to New England Baptist Hospital for a MRI, where the tear was revealed.
Rondo was able to play 45 minutes and produce a triple-double in Friday’s loss.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers decided to start Courtney Lee in Rondo’s place. Lee has been averaging 7.3 points, 1.4 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game this season off the bench.
The Celtics are currently 20-23 and sit in the last spot of the Eastern Conference playoff race. They could potentially miss the playoffs without Rondo now. They have not missed the playoffs since the 2006-07 season.
NBA commissioner David Stern will now have the task of selecting a replacement for Rondo as he was voted to the Eastern Conference’s All-Star starting team.