While this news is good for Rondo’s long term prospects, it’s bad news for his fantasy basketball owners who must now look for a replacement before tonight’s 7:00 pm ET tip-offs.
Rondo has played in eight of the Celtics’ 10 games since returning from last February’s surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), but he’s still in the recovery process and Coach Stevens said “it doesn’t look he’ll play [Friday].” Stevens added to that saying, “Our biggest thing with him is just being really conservative with making sure that, as he is going through this, that he feels good when he’s on the court because it’s really important as you’re coming back in and getting your rhythm and everything else that you play well.” Rondo admitted to feeling “general soreness” after Wednesday’s game at Philadelphia.
It’s a tough break for fantasy owners, as Rondo had finally started to look like his All-Star self, averaging 13.5 points, 10.5 assists, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.5 steals over his last two games. If he does indeed sit out, Phil Pressey would be a nice speculative pickup. In three starts, the rookie point guard is averaging 7.3 points, 5.3 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.7 3-pointers. His season-high was a 20-point outing vs. the Wizards back on January 22. Pressey is available in 100 percent of ESPN.com fantasy basketball leagues.
The Celtics could also be without starting shooting guard Avery Bradley, who may have aggravated his sprained ankle in Wednesday’s win over the Sixers.
Bradley’s bum ankle caused him to miss five games from Jan. 22-29, but he has played well in the two games since returning, scoring 17 points on Sunday and 14 points on Wednesday. Coach Stevens has given Bradley a “50/50″ chance of playing, but with Celtics playing for a high lottery pick, it makes sense for them to keep him sidelined.
In the event Bradley sits out, Gerald Wallace is worth adding because he would likely draw the start. The former All-Star has seen his career take a nosedive, but he’s still capable of putting up stats across the board and could be a quick fix for fantasy owners Friday tonight. In five games as the starting shooting guard, Wallace is averaging 8.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.6 steals.
If Wallace isn’t available in your league, give Jerryd Bayless a look. Even though he has struggled since the Celtics acquired him from the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 6., Bayless is another player who would likely usurp some of Bradley’s playing time. In 12 games with the Celtics, the former Arizona Wildcat is averaging 7.8 points on 37.5 percent shooting, but can score in bunches, making him a decent pickup vs. a Kings team that is ranked 22nd vs. opposing shooting guards this season.
Wallace is available in 73 percent of ESPN.com leagues, while Bayless is available in 99 percent of them.