Rajon Rondo returns after elbow injury

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo dislocated his left elbow in Saturday night's playoff game after crashing to the court in a tangle with Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Rondo remained on the floor while the team doctor rushed out to attend to him. After a few minutes, Rondo was helped to his feet and walked off the court, with Dr. Brian McKeon immobilizing Rondo's left arm. Boston's medical staff was able to pop it back into place.

Wade was called for a foul.

"I knew right away something was wrong when I went down, but thank God for Kevin [Garnett], because I was having trouble breathing," Rondo said after Boston's 97-81 win that cut Miami's series lead to 2-1. "I was worried about my elbow, but I was having trouble breathing. I just kept hearing him tell me to breathe. Everything else took care of itself."

Rondo returned to the Celtics' bench at the end of the third quarter and got a standing ovation, and he re-entered the game for the start of the fourth quarter.

The injury looked far more severe when it occurred. Rondo's elbow bent awkwardly as he hit the floor as he and Wade scrambled for a loose ball. The Celtics were on a 16-4 run to open the second half and had built a 10-point lead at 60-50 with 7:01 to play in the third quarter.

Garnett, the star of the night after registering 28 points and 18 rebounds, marveled at the pain tolerance of his point guard.

"I've seen [Rondo] play through some [injuries]," Garnett said after the game. "I'm not going to go through the list of injuries that you all are unaware of. I'm not going to put him out there like that, but I've seen him play through some horrific injuries. All of us sort of looked at each other like, 'What is he doing out here? Is he being smart right now?'

"When he came in, it was just typical Rondo. Shorty is a really tough, young individual and I don't know what he's going to be like when he's 35, but right now he's playing through a lot. He's showing a lot of heart, a lot of grit. We see it. That doesn't go unspoken or unseen. We see he's out there giving his full effort. We're following that lead."

Rondo had 11 assists in the game and a pair of one-armed baskets in the fourth quarter.

But there's still work to be done and Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed pessimism about whether Rondo will be able to play in Monday's Game 4 and beyond.

"It's a major concern," said Rivers. "We've seen people play with broken feet and stuff like that. Honestly, moving forward, we'll have to see. It's going to be interesting, I'll put it that way."

Information from ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg and The Associated Press was used in this report.