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Celtics’ Rondo tears right ACL; season over

Associated Press Boston Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The news came during Boston’s 100-98 double-overtime win over the Miami Heat on Sunday. “New guys are going to get an opportunity now,” Boston forward Paul Pierce said. “These guys haven’t had a chance to really showcase what they can do.” For the past five seasons, Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett made up the Big Three. After Allen signed with the Heat as a free agent in the offseason, Rondo joined that group — and became the team leader with his ability to run the offense. He was chosen as the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game in Houston on Feb. 17. Now the Celtics hope he can be ready for the start of next season. “How far is that?” coach Doc Rivers said, “I don’t even know how long that is. Eight months? Nine months? So he’ll probably be ready, but I don’t know. Rondo injured his right knee in Friday night’s 123-112 double-overtime loss in Atlanta, a game in which the Celtics blew a 27-point lead, but Rivers said he didn’t know when. He reported to the TD Garden on Sunday for a pregame shootaround but was taken to a hospital after complaining of pain. The initial report was a hyperextended knee, but tests showed the ACL tear. Rivers said he learned about 25 minutes before the game that Rondo wouldn’t play. Word of the injury’s severity came during the game. “He was telling me he thought he pulled his hamstring,” Rivers said, “Rondo will be fine. He just will not be fine this year.” “We’ve just got to rally around each other,” Pierce said. “I feel for him. He was having such a good season. It’s disappointing news.” As Celtics players walked off the court through a tunnel toward their locker room, Rondo, dressed in street clothes, greeted them. “I know he’s sad. I’m sad for him,” starting guard Avery Bradley said. Rondo was averaging career highs of 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds along with 11.1 assists this season. Still, the Celtics are struggling to remain around .500, finishing the day with a 21-23 record, 2½ games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have no true point guard behind Rondo. Rivers said he didn’t know if they would try to add one.

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