BOSTONRajon Rondo is about as tough a player as you'll come across in the NBA.
So the idea of him suffering a right ankle injury and not being able to return can not be discounted.
Boston managed to survive a Rajon Rondo-less fourth quarter on Wednesday in squeaking out a 98-93 win over Utah.
But it remains to be seen if the C's can last an entire game without their floor leader.
Boston may have to find out the hard way Thursday night when they play the Brooklyn Nets.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said it was "iffy" that Rondo could have returned to the floor on Wednesday night against the Jazz.
When asked if Rondo would play against the Nets, Rivers responded, "I have no idea. With sprained ankles, tomorrow you'll know more."
If he's unable to play, the Celtics would likely re-insert Courtney Lee into the starting lineup and have Jason Terry slide over to running the point.
There's not a single player in the Celtics locker room who doesn't know that they are a better team -- a much better team -- with Rondo rather than without him.
Still, there is clearly an upside of sorts for the Celtics during stretches in which Rondo is off the floor.
"You don't wish any hurt upon any of your teammates, but it's the nature of the business, it happens," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "We went without him a few games last year, so we just have to make the adjustments."
Rondo missed 13 games last season with the Celtics tallying a decent 8-5 record in his absence.
While there are a number of adjustments that have to be made if Rondo is unable to play, there's a confidence about this team that keeps them relatively confident that the void left by his absence will be filled by someone.
On Wednesday, that player was Leandro Barbosa, who led the Celtics second unit with 16 points but maybe even more important, didn't allow the Celtics to miss a beat even with their best player out of the game.
"It shows how deep we are," said Celtics big man Chris Wilcox. "We've got guys who can step up."
And the timing of that lesson could not be any better as the Celtics travel to Brooklyn to face a Nets team that's led by point guard Deron Williams.
Still, the idea of having to play games at some point without Rondo was something that Rivers anticipated coming about at some point this season.
"He's not going to play all 82, I doubt," Rivers said. "It'd be nice. You know, how I think, guys, the next guy, just somebody has to step up and we have to figure it out. Tonight was a great example that we did that."
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