Rondo Discusses ACL Injury for First Time

BOSTON – Rajon Rondo has spoken publicly for the first time since tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 25 in Atlanta.

The All-Star point guard sat down with ESPN’s Hannah Storm to discuss the injury and his rehabilitation.

“It was shocking. Frustrating,” Rondo explained. “I wanted to play against the Heat that day, Sunday (Jan. 27). I thought I was playing, but until maybe like 30 minutes on the clock, I did my ritual, my routine, and I got in the shower and just something was telling me, ‘This just doesn’t feel right.’”

Rondo

Rajon Rondo tore his right ACL on Jan. 25 in Atlanta when he jumped to make a pass in the paint and landed awkwardly on his right leg.
Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images

Rondo recalled going to a closed hospital on Sunday, Jan. 27, to undergo an MRI while his team took the court for a much-anticipated matchup with Miami. He first heard of the season-ending news during the ride back to the arena that afternoon.

“On the way back I heard on the radio, they were like, ‘Rondo might have a torn ACL,’” Rondo remembered. “I’m like, ‘How?’ I’m like, ‘We just got the results, there’s no way possible.’”

But it was possible. Team doctors confirmed the rumor during the Heat game, and the Celtics officially announced the news at 2:38 p.m. on its official Twitter handle.

Rondo dug into his memory bank to describe the very play that led to the end of his season. The play occurred with two minutes and 11 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of a double-overtime loss to the Hawks. Rondo continued to play the final 10 minutes and 11 seconds of the game without knowing the true significance of his injury.

“I jumped up and made a pass,” Rondo recalled. “I didn’t hear it pop. I just thought when I came down, I came down too early and hyperextended my leg, but I thought I could play through it. I didn’t know it was a season-ending injury.”

It took less than 48 hours for him to learn that the next year of his life would be filled with rehabilitation and mental hurdles. The early stages of rehab have proven to be challenging, but Rondo told Storm that it’s not difficult for him to be patient during the process.

“It’s not, because it starts with fundamentals,” Rondo said. “It starts from the ground up. This is a learning process all over again as far as my leg, so it will be good for me. I’ll have a chance to let my body heal and work on things I’ve never worked on on my body before.”

Storm asked Rondo if he has any sort of timetable for a return to the court. He refused to slap any date on a return and explained that his rehab is unique compared to any other athlete’s.

“No. Nope. No,” he said regarding the existence of a targeted return date. “When I got out of surgery, for three or four weeks nobody said anything about when I’ll be back or when I’ll be able to play. They just want me to take it one week at a time and see how I progress from there.

“Everybody’s body is different. Some play a different sport, everybody plays the game (of basketball) differently, so I think an injury like this varies.”

What Rondo already understands is that this rehab is specific to him. This isn’t Adrian Peterson returning to the Vikings. This isn’t Derrick Rose coming back to the Bulls. This is Rajon Rondo doing everything he can to rejoin the Celtics next season.

“I’m in a place now where I’m OK with it,” Rondo said. “I know this is my main focus: just getting healthy.”