- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo talked with the league an hour before the team's Thursday afternoon practice and was awaiting word on his fate after his role in Wednesday's melee during a loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
"I told them the truth," Rondo said of his conversation with the league. "I don't know what's going to happen. They haven't made a decision yet, so I'm just waiting to hear back from the league. I went through practice today hoping I'll play tomorrow, but you never know."
What does his gut tell him?
"You never know, you just never know," he said. "It's out of my control. Whatever the consequences are, that's what they are. I don't think I did anything dirty. I didn't try to start a riot. I don't think it was more than a pushing war. That's about it."
After Nets forward Kris Humphries delivered a foul that sent Kevin Garnett crashing hard onto his back in the second quarter, Rondo immediately confronted Humphries, delivering a two-handed shove. The two then got tangled, with Rondo the aggressor, and the shoving spilled into the stands beneath the basket in front of the Celtics' bench. Players and coaches from both teams rushed onto the court, with security and team personnel trying to defuse the situation. Rondo was one of three players ejected from the game.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers did not believe Rondo's actions deserved a suspension.
"The only thing would be is they went in the stands, which you never want. But there were no punches thrown or anything," Rivers said. "And, really, when you see it, I thought Rondo was trying to get him away and then he kind of pulled Rondo into him and that's when everything started. So I don't really believe he went in there trying to fight. I don't think anyone did. It just escalated and that's what happened. I thought the game, at least on one end, was physical. And you can hear some of our guys complain about the cheap shots and stuff like that, and it really never got cleaned up, and then it led to that."
Rondo called the foul by Humphries "malicious," and explained why he reacted the way he did.
"Well, I thought the play on Kevin was a malicious play, you know?" Rondo said. "I got hurt last year on a similar play like that -- a guy going up in the air, defenseless, on his way down. And you know, I just, I pushed Humphries. And after that, it was a pushing war."
Does he regret his actions?
"I know I have to be out there for my teammates," he said. "That's the only thing about it. But I was sticking up for my teammates. I didn't try to start a fight. I'm not trying to be a bully. I just didn't think the play was fair that he made on Kevin, that's all."
Rondo has a history of losing his cool on the court. He was suspended one game for bumping an official during last season's playoffs, and he got a two-game ban for throwing a ball at an official during the regular season before that.
"This game is a contact sport, it's an emotional game. I play with an edge every night," Rondo said. "I think that's what separates me from a lot of guys. So I'm not going to let that take me away from my game. I didn't do anything dirty. This is a new day and era, the style of how we play the game. Back in the day, the ball would have been checked up, some free throws would have been made and we would have kept going. But, it's a new era, and we've got different rules now."
Rivers affirmed that he wants Rondo to be able to control himself during what he often refers to as "emotional hijacks."
"The one Rondo understands is he can't allow himself to be taken out of the game," Rivers said. "And he did last night. Now, again, I don't think he had any intentions when it started. I don't think he went in there thinking, 'We're going to get in a fight.' I'm just going to stand up for my guy and got his legs up under him. Unfortunately the other guy reacted. Rondo reacted back. And then, now you're out. Again, it's snap, it's quick, and it could happen to any of us, and it has happened to me."
3dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann