Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo underwent surgery to repair a tear in his right ACL on Tuesday, according to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
After seeking multiple opinions, Rondo settled on Dr. James Andrews for the procedure, spurred in large part by the recovery of NFL running back Adrian Peterson, who won the league’s MVP award this past season after undergoing surgery in December of 2011.
There was no other structural damage beyond a partial tear of the ACL for Rondo, which doctors believe could further accelerate his return.
“You know how competitive Rondo is -- the whole Adrian Peterson thing was a big motivating factor,” said Ainge. “To watch him come back and win the MVP in such short time -- Rondo is so competitive with those type of things and that’s his mindset.”
Ronda underwent the procedure, which utilized a graft from the patella tendon, at Andrews’ facility in Gulf Breeze, Fla. He’s expected to remain there as he starts the initial phase of his rehabilitation.
“He’s in good spirits,” said Ainge. “He’s focused on what’s ahead and getting back on the court… He’s got a good eight months before we even start [training] camp [for the 2013-14 season in late September]. We do anticipate he’ll be ready to participate in all of training camp.”
Rondo had pledged to his teammates that he’d try to top even Peterson’s speedy recovery and be back performing basketball activities in six months. Ainge said the team would encourage the All-Star guard to use all available time and ensure a full recovery.
Teammate Leandro Barbosa, who tore his left ACL during Monday’s loss in Charlotte, also sprained his MCL and will wait a month before he goes in for surgery, according to Ainge.
Once the swelling from the sprain heals, initial tests suggest there is no other structural damage beyond the ACL, which would put Barbosa on a similar recovery timeline as Rondo.
Ainge said the Celtics would very much like to bring Barbosa back next season. Boston signed the speedy guard late in the offseason to a one-year, veteran-minimum deal.
“We loved Leandro,” said Ainge. “Even with how close we were to the luxury tax apron, we felt like Leandro would help our team and that his time would come with us here. It’s a tough loss.”
Ainge has pledged to fill out the Celtics’ roster by month’s end. The team will not move to immediately sign another body, but will give thought to a 10-day contract before the team embarks on a five-game west-coast trip after the All-Star break.
The Celtics are hard-capped after using the full value of the mid-level exception to sign Jason Terry this offseason, which limits their financial flexibility. With the goal of adding rotation-caliber talent this month, the team has to proceed carefully as not to tie up available money or roster space.
Boston would like to add two minimum salaries to its roster and is exploring all options, from available bodies in the D-League and overseas, to what trades are plausible for an inury-thinned squad.
Ainge admitted Wednesday that the free-agent route was the most likely avenue given that Boston doesn’t have enough depth to stand losing a player on its roster. He also said the team values its younger assets too much to move them at the deadline.
In the interim, with only three healthy guards on the roster for Wednesday’s visit from the Bulls, Ainge said he expects coach Doc Rivers to get creative with lineups, including those that feature Paul Pierce at shooting guard and Jeff Green at small forward.
Seven of Boston’s 10 available bodies are 6-foot-7 or taller, leaving them shorthanded at the guard rotation. Starters Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee are likely to see a bump in minutes, but Ainge said the team wants to keep Pierce’s minute total manageable.