The Celtics classified the injury as day-to-day and Rondo said he wanted to return to Wednesday's game, but a lopsided lead allowed Doc Rivers to hold him out for the final 15 minutes of a 96-73 win at TD Garden.
“It’s day to day. We’ll see how I feel [Thursday]," Rondo said. "I took a couple of Advil and I’m sure I’ll be OK.”
Rondo was driving the baseline late in the third quarter when Raptors swingman Linas Kleiza shuffled over and slammed Rondo's arms down while Rondo was in mid-air. Rondo crashed hard to the floor, landing on his right hand as he attempted to brace his fall. He was attended to by trainer Ed Lacerte and team doctor Brian McKeon before rising gingerly.
Kleiza originally was assessed a flagrant-2, but the foul was changed to a flagrant-1 upon video review. Rondo stayed in the game to attempt his free throws before departing for the locker room.
The moment gave just about everyone in the building flashbacks to last year's playoff series against the Miami Heat when Rondo landed awkwardly in Game 3 at the Garden and suffered a dislocated elbow. Amazingly, Rondo said this might have hurt more.
“This was different, [but] I think it was more painful, honestly, at the time," Rondo said. "I was just trying to focus on breathing, but the other one was just more of a shock and I just kind of went numb.”
Rivers initially thought Rondo was just selling the fall hoping for the flagrant foul. He grew concerned quickly when Rondo didn't immediately get up.
"Honestly, I was laughing right afterward," Rivers said. "I wasn’t [concerned] at first because I thought he was trying to get the flagrant. I thought he was laying down, trying to –- you know. And then when he stayed down, then I was concerned. But I didn’t know what it was. And then when I saw him grabbing his arm or hand, I was thinking last year [in the] playoffs obviously.”
Kevin Garnett said he got a scare as well when Rondo didn't immediately get back up.
"When he didn't pop right up, it made everybody nervous," Garnett said. "I was included. But then, having dialogue with him and he really wasn't having much of that, and then it was a major concern.
"[Rondo] is very, very, very tough. One of the tougher people that I know in my life. So I was very, very concerned, like everybody else, and worried but when he got up and toughed through -- I mean, really, really, really ground through it and shot free throws, actually made one, I was pretty amazed, just knowing how much pain he was in.
"To get through something like that is very difficult. I don't think people really understand how high of a threshold [for pain] the young boy has got. I mean, [Celtics media relations czar Jeff] Twiss can probably concur to this, along with everybody else around here, he just continues to amaze everybody with just his high level of play, and more importantly, his high level of tolerance. It's appreciated and it's not totally undervalued in here. We all look at it and we follow it."