Doc Gives Injury Updates on Rondo, West, Shaq

WALTHAM, Mass. - With Sunday’s media availability taking place before the team’s practice in Waltham, Mass., news was relatively limited when it comes to injury updates. Nonetheless, we’ll give you what we were given.

Rajon Rondo, who made a miraculous comeback onto the floor last night after suffering a dislocated left elbow, is in obvious pain and underwent tests, including an MRI, this afternoon. The MRI and a CAT scan both came back negative.

At this point Rondo’s availability for Game 4 is still unknown, but Rivers is hopeful that his point guard will be available. The likelihood is that he will be a legitimate game-time decision.

Delonte West suffered an injured left shoulder in the first half of Game 3 but also returned to action in the second half. His initial evaluation was a bruised left shoulder, and he will also undergo tests, including an MRI, this afternoon. The injury is on the back of his shoulder, rather than the front, which may dismiss the possibility of a dislocation or separation. He was able to play meaningful minutes while Rondo was back in the locker room having his elbow popped back into place last night, but this injury will affect his game quite a bit.

West is left-handed, which means every time he attempts a shot he is likely going to feel pain. Rondo, on the other hand, is right-handed, so he can navigate through a game with decent effectiveness and be able to shoot effectively on shots in the paint. West’s shot was clearly affected after the injury – he had shot 4-of-5 in the first half for 10 points, and then missed both of his shot attempts in the second half while scoring only one point.

Again, Rivers is hopeful that West will be available to play tomorrow night, but there are no guarantees.

“I think with Delonte, I think it’ll come down to how much (pain) he can tolerate,” said Rivers.

Rivers seems to be categorizing his two guards together in their likelihood of playing. His most important statement of the day was a dual comment on both Rondo and West.

“I’m optimistic about both that they’re going to play,” he said. “I’m not sure why I am, but I am. I just don’t know how well either one can play.”

The one injured Celtic who wasn’t included in that statement was Shaquille O’Neal, who returned to the lineup for a full game for the first time in about three months. Who would have thought that he would be the healthiest man out of Boston’s group of injured players? O’Neal had played only five minutes in the past three months prior to last night due to an injured right leg, particularly his Achilles. He gave the Celtics 8:29 of playing time and logged just two points, zero rebounds and one assist, but his coach liked what he saw out of O’Neal in terms of affecting the game.

“I thought in the first half Shaq, and I thought that whole group, struggled a little bit, probably because of the newness of Shaq being on the floor,” Rivers said. “But I thought that stretch in the fourth quarter with Shaq to start the fourth, that may have been – that was a key part of the entire game for us. We were scrambling with guys being out, Kevin (Garnett) had played longer than I ever play him, 12 straight minutes, and we needed somebody to step forward for us and Shaq did that.”

Just as he felt about Rondo and West, Rivers is hopeful that Shaq will be ready for Game 4 as well. He seemed very confident that O’Neal will be good to go from here on out, but understands that the big man will likely be dealing with pain on off days moving forward.

“Right now we’re going to go with ‘they’re all playing,’ Shaq as well,” said Rivers. “He has the typical swelling that we assumed he would have, but I think he’s just going to have that for the rest of this year.”