Celtics officials fear Rajon Rondo has torn the ACL in his right knee, according to David Baumann of Bright House Sports Network (Twitter link). Rondo is sitting out today's game against the Heat with what the team is calling a hyperextended right knee, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com notes. Rondo, who hurt himself in Friday's loss to the Hawks, will undergo a precautionary MRI.
An ACL for Rondo, which would surely knock him out for the rest of the season, could be a knockout blow to the Celtics, who sit at 20-23, just two games in front of the Sixers for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The deadline to apply for a disabled player exception came and went earlier this month, but such an exception, worth half of Rondo's $11MM salary, wouldn't have been much use to the Celtics, who are less than $3MM beneath their hard cap.
Rondo, who had recently been elected an All-Star starter, is in the third season of a team-friendly five-year, $55MM deal. He's shown durability throughout his career, never missing more than 14 games in any of his six seasons prior to this year.