Coach Doc Rivers found out his point guard was unable to go just moments before he met with reporters about an hour before tip-off. Nate Robinson started in Rondo's place.
Rondo missed three games late last month due to the hamstring, but played in Boston's last four games. At the start of Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls, he motioned to be taken out, but played through the initial soreness and ended up dishing out 19 assists in a win. With a two-day break looming after this, the Celtics aren't taking any chances.
"We have a two-day break after this and that's one of the things that went into this," said Rivers, acknowledging that the team might need to shut Rondo down for a short period of time to get the hamstring right again.
The Celtics play a back-to-back later in the week as part of three games in four days.
"Listen, it is what is is. We're just going to try to get through it," Rivers added.
Robinson is also hobbled by a lingering foot ailment suffered in a win over Atlanta in which he started in place of Rondo.
"I just found out, actually, and I just told the TV and radio [reporters] he was good, because he was," said Rivers. "Literally, as I was walking out, he said he can't go. That's a tough one, because we hadn't prepared for that one. With Nate [also injured], it could be an interesting point guard rotation."
"It'll be Marquis first, instinctively, but Avery will play some," Rivers said.
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.