During an interview with WEEI, Doc Rivers disputed that Rajon Rondo is hurt.
“He just hasn’t been playing well,” Rivers said, adding, “I think it looks worse than it is.”
It does look pretty bad. Rondo’s teammate said Rondo is hurt, and Rondo just recently pieced together perhaps the most uninspired stretch of play of his entire career. He hasn’t reached double digits in assists for the past six games, his longest such streak since December 2008. During the six-game cold streak, Rondo’s shooting 17-52 (or a blistering 32.7%).
When asked whether Kevin Garnett was wrong to believe Rondo’s hurt, Rivers responded simply, “Yeah, he is.” Alrighty, then.
In other news, Rivers offered tentative timelines for the O’Neals.
He believes Shaq could return within one week (which the team has been saying for more than a month now, so take that with a grain of salt), and Jermaine could return within two weeks. But according to today’s Boston Globe, Rivers offered skepticism that Jermaine would offer anything come playoff time.
“I have no idea,’’ Rivers said. “I haven’t seen him much this year. Right before he was injured, he was playing terrific, he kind of bought into what we needed him to do. He was rebounding, he was taking charges, he was blocking shots. Then he went down.
“So if he could get back to what he was right before he left, then we’re going to get a lot out of him.’’
“Even from a player’s prospective, I’ve never missed that much and come back to play,’’ Rivers said. “So I don’t know how that happens. Some guys do it. Some guys have been successful.
“I will say it’s easier for a big to do it than a guard.
“Listen, if he can give us five hard fouls — I mean really hard fouls — and block a couple shots and rebound, we’ll take that. But I don’t even know if timing-wise he can do that or not.’’
Rivers was asked when he hopes the O’Neals return by, and he replied, “A month ago, if you want to be honest.”
And if the O’Neals don’t come back, does that change Rivers’ reaction to the Jeff Green trade?
“Yeah, it does,” he told WEEI. He later added that the Celtics could still win the title without either O’Neal, though it would make the path more difficult.