OK, Danny, now what?
Danny Ainge, the architect of the Boston Celtics' roster, said he will "evaluate in the next couple of days" how to fill the cavernous void left by Rajon Rondo, who tore his ACL in a game against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday and is done for the season.
Coach Doc Rivers said his second unit had been working for a few days on an offense without a point guard and predicted, "We'll be OK. We have Jason [Terry], we have Avery [Bradley], we have [Leandro Barbosa]."
None of them duplicate the multifaceted skills of Rondo, who is one of the premier point guards in the league. Yet Ainge correctly pointed out the Celtics have had success playing without Rondo before.
"Barbosa has been clamoring for minutes, and every time he's gotten them he's done good things," Ainge said. "So this is an opportunity for him."
Former Celtics point guard Keyon Dooling, who remains with the team in a player development role, said he's in "good human shape" but about "three weeks away" from basketball shape. Asked if he'd consider a comeback, Dooling said, "I would do anything for Doc and Danny."
Ainge quickly ruled out that possibility moments after the Celtics beat the Miami Heat in double overtime.
Both Ainge and Rivers indicated Rondo's injury will not prompt Boston to make any major trades.
"I still like my team," Rivers insisted.
Even before Rondo was injured, the Celtics had struggled to establish offensive continuity, relying too heavily on veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to shoulder much of the scoring load. They have been clinging to the eighth (and final) playoff spot in the East for much of the season.
The choices of available point guards are slim. The best option from a talent standpoint would be twice-former Celtic Delonte West, but his off-court behavior wore out the Celtics and Rivers during his last stint. It's unlikely Mike Bibby or Jonny Flynn will be of any interest either. A minor trade might land the Celtics a suitable replacement. In the immediate future, they will rely on their in-house backcourt depth.
"We've had success playing without Rajon during short periods of time, but we've never had to play without him during long periods of time," Ainge said. "It should be an interesting test for us. Not a test we wanted. Frankly, I'm worried about that test."