Per Doris Burke of ESPN (via Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com), the point guard has officially torn his ACL and will be shut down for the season.
Rondo has a torn ACL.. per Doris Burke on ESPN
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) January 27, 2013
Pretending that Rondo’s injury all but guarantees the Celtics will miss the playoffs would be shortsighted. As they proved against the Miami Heat (without Rondo), this team is a resilient bunch. And in a weak Eastern Conference, anything can still happen. Just ask the Sixers.
After Boston’s win over Miami, Philadelphia finds itself 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While that hardly put the postseason out of reach even with the Celtics boasting a healthy Rondo, you really didn’t like the Sixers’ chances to finish the season in the top eight of the conference.
With Jrue Holiday still playing like a star and guys like Thaddeus Young, among others having stepped up, Philadelphia’s quest for a postseason berth doesn’t seem to be so much of a long shot anymore.
Yes, the Sixers are seven games under .500 and will continue to struggle to win until the return (or should I say, debut?) of Andrew Bynum. And yet, that’s just the thing—Bynum isn’t far off from returning to the hardwood.
According to the Inquirer‘s John Mitchell, Bynum’s return could be imminent. Like before-the-All-Star-break imminent.
League source: Bynum could be back before All-Star break.
— john mitchell (@JmitchInquirer) January 27, 2013
Going as far as to say that Bynum will transform the Sixers into instant title contenders is a stretch. The impact he can have on both ends of the floor suggests he can, but he’ll likely have to spend plenty of time honing his on-court tendencies and grasping the flow of the game.
That said, his presence does give Philly a second star to lean on. Pairing him with Holiday will enhance an already strong Sixers defensive attack while strengthening an extremely fragile and limited offensive one.
Best of all, catching Boston has the potential to become a reality.
Again, I won’t pretend that the Celtics are going to roll over and die. Short of blowing their roster up, I still believe that they’ll fight. Yet they’re fight is now one a healthy Sixers team can have the edge in.
Upon Bynum’s return, if the Sixers rattle off a few straight wins or just begin to play above .500, Boston will be screwed. As hard as the Celtics will try to persevere, they’re destined to toil with a .500 or worse record down their leading playmaker.
If the Sixers can become even half the winning entity they were supposed to be when they latched on to Bynum, they’re presence in playoffs is nearing a formality.
At the expense of a now Rondo-less Celtics team.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.