The news came during Boston’s 100-98 double-overtime win over the Miami Heat on Sunday in which Ray Allen returned to his old home court for the first time.
“New guys are going to get an opportunity now,” Boston forward Paul Pierce said. “These guys haven’t had a chance to really showcase what they can do.”
For the past five seasons, Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett made up the Big Three. After Allen signed with the Heat as a free agent in the offseason, Rondo joined that group _ and became the team leader with his ability to run the offense.
He was chosen as the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game in Houston on Feb. 17.
Now the Celtics hope he can be ready for the start of next season.
“How far is that?” coach Doc Rivers said, “I don’t even know how long that is. Eight months? Nine months? So he’ll probably be ready, but I don’t know.
He reported to the TD Garden on Sunday for a pregame shootaround but was taken to a hospital after complaining of pain.
The initial report was a hyperextended knee, but tests showed the ACL tear.
Rivers said he learned about 25 minutes before the game that Rondo wouldn’t play. Word of the injury’s severity came during the game.
“He was telling me he thought he pulled his hamstring,” Rivers said, “Rondo will be fine. He just will not be fine this year.”
The team made the announcement during Sunday’s win in the nationally televised game that snapped a losing streak that had reached six games despite back-to-back triple-doubles by Rondo.
“We’ve just got to rally around each other,” Pierce said. “I feel for him. He was having such a good season. It’s disappointing news.”