Rajon Rondo gets surgery on ACL

Updated: February 14, 2013, 4:38 PM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo underwent surgery Tuesday to repair an ACL tear in his right knee, according to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

The Celtics had mistakenly identified it as his left knee earlier Wednesday, but it was the right knee as previously reported.

After seeking multiple opinions on how to treat the injury, Rondo settled on Dr. James Andrews for the procedure, spurred in large part by the recovery of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who won the NFL's MVP award this past season after undergoing surgery from Andrews in December 2011.

There was no other structural damage for Rondo beyond a partial tear of the ACL, which doctors believe could further accelerate his return.

"You know how competitive Rondo is -- the whole Adrian Peterson thing was a big motivating factor," Ainge said. "To watch him come back and win the MVP in such short time -- Rondo is so competitive with those type of things and that's his mindset."

Rondo underwent the procedure, which utilized a graft from the patella tendon, at Andrews' facility in Gulf Breeze, Fla. He is expected to remain there as he starts the initial phase of his rehabilitation.

"He's in good spirits," Ainge said. "He's focused on what's ahead and getting back on the court. ... He's got a good eight months before we even start [training] camp [for the 2013-14 season in late September]. We do anticipate he'll be ready to participate in all of training camp."

Ainge You know how competitive [Rajon] Rondo is -- the whole Adrian Peterson thing was a big motivating factor. ... Rondo is so competitive with those type of things and that's his mindset.

-- Celtics GM Danny Ainge

With no other structural damage, Rondo had pledged to his teammates that he'd try to top even Peterson's speedy recovery and be back performing basketball activities in six months. Ainge said the team would encourage the All-Star guard to use all available time and ensure a full recovery.

Teammate Leandro Barbosa, who tore his left ACL during Monday's loss in Charlotte, also sprained his MCL and will wait a month before he goes in for surgery, according to Ainge.

Once the swelling from the sprain heals, initial tests suggest there is no other structural damage beyond the ACL, which would put Barbosa on a similar recovery timeline as Rondo.

Ainge said the Celtics would like to bring back Barbosa for next season. Boston signed the speedy guard late in the offseason to a one-year, veteran-minimum deal.

"We loved Leandro," Ainge said. "Even with how close we were to the luxury-tax apron, we felt like Leandro would help our team and that his time would come with us here. It's a tough loss."

Ainge has pledged to fill out the Celtics' roster by month's end. The team will not move immediately to sign another body, but will consider offering a 10-day contract before embarking on a five-game West Coast trip after the All-Star break.

The Celtics are hard-capped after using the full value of the midlevel exception to sign Jason Terry in the offseason, which limits their financial flexibility. With the goal of adding rotation-caliber talent this month, the team has to proceed carefully so as not to tie up available money or roster space.

Boston would like to add two minimum salaries to its roster and is exploring all options, from available bodies in the D-League and overseas, to what trades are plausible for an injury-depleted squad.

Ainge admitted Wednesday that the free-agent route is his most likely avenue since Boston doesn't have enough depth to stand losing a player on its roster. He also said the team values its younger assets too much to move them at the Feb. 21 deadline.

In the interim, with only three healthy guards on the roster for Wednesday night's visit from the Bulls, Ainge said he expects coach Doc Rivers to get creative with lineups, including those that feature Paul Pierce at shooting guard and Jeff Green at small forward.

Seven of Boston's 10 available players are 6-foot-7 or taller, leaving the team short-handed at the guard rotation. Starters Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee are likely to see a bump in minutes, but Ainge said the team wants to keep Pierce's minute total manageable.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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