Of all the players on the Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo was probably the most irreplaceable talent.
That's doesn't matter anymore.
Sunday afternoon the Boston Celtics tweeted the bad news that Rajon Rondo, the team's All-Star point guard -- and one the NBA's best all around basketball players -- has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season.
For a Celtics team that had struggled all season to work new players into their system, and get consistent play from their aging veterans the news could not be worse.
Now Boston must face some very tough choices.
Are the Celtics prepared to try and trade for a point guard to fill in for the remainder of the season? Can Avery Bradley, a player known mainly for his defense fill-in at the point guard position?
The Celtics could also decide to shop veteran small forward Paul Pierce. Pierce can become a free agent following this season's conclusion. Now in his 15th season as a Celtic. He is the franchise's second all-time leading scorer. Dealing Pierce was signal the end of an era in Boston.
Ken Berger of CBS Sports has already suggested that Pierce could be traded to Memphis in exchange for Rudy Gay.
There is little chance the Celtics will find an adequate replacement for Rondo, whose 11.1 assists per game lead the NBA.
Avery Bradley figures to receive the bulk of minutes at point guard in the short-term. Bradley doesn't have much experience running the point, but he's a stellar defender and great athlete.
It was Bradley's emergence that forced veteran Ray Allen out of the starting lineup last spring.
Now Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers will turn to Bradley again, and this time the challenge will be even more daunting.
Can Bradley handle the increased pressure of defending opposing point guards during a time of unprecedented depth and talent in the NBA at the position?
Can Bradley efficiently distribute the ball to a Celtics roster that features two future hall of fame players in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, veterans Jason Terry and Courtney Lee and young players such as Jeff Green and rookie Jared Sullinger?
With the Celtics' playoff status already in a precarious position, there will be plenty of people who will suggest the Celtics basically give-up on this season.
When head coach Doc Rivers was asked by Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski about writing-off this season following the news of Rondo's injury, he responded that he wasn't ready to do that.
"You can write the obituary, but I'm not."
WIth a roster that has young talent and veteran leadership, as well as one of the NBA's more accomplished head coaches, the Celtics aren't ready to turn the page on the 2012-13 season. Replacing Rondo will be next to impossible, but the team is determined to make an effort.
That was apparent on Sunday afternoon when the Rondo-less Celtics knocked off the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat in a double-overtime thriller in Boston.
How much momentum the Celtics can take from Sunday afternoon's win is a big question. The win snapped a six-game losing steak and featured a triple-double from Paul Pierce, but the real test is yet to come.
There are 38 games remaining in the regular season and the Celtics will need to play better basketball without Rajon Rondo than they were playing with the All-Star point guard. That's not going to be easy.
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