“The first thing I told him was, do not play Superman…Take care of yourself. I know you think you’re young, but you’re not that young. He’s old in a young body, if you will. But take it seriously. Go get second opinions. Live right … He’s played through a lot of things you guys have no idea about, nor will I share now. The game in Sacramento, he shouldn’t have even played that game. I’ve seen Paul (Pierce) play through some stuff, I saw Ray (Allen) when he was here muscle through some stuff. He’s a tough kid and I learned that the first day I got here. It’s no surprise. That’s why I said what I said to him: Hey, you’re a human being, take care of yourself.” – Kevin Garnett per Boston Herald
Kevin Garnett knows a thing or two about having miles on his body, and he knows how to make a solid career last. KG has been around now since 1995-96, and he’s played 76 games or more in 12 of his 17.5 NBA seasons, including three straight seasons without missing an NBA game.
The importance of resting one’s body cannot be underestimated, and the rigors an NBA player goes through tax the joints and tendons intensely. Thus, when an ACL is torn, the ligament must be rehabbed even harder to withstand taxes that only professional athletes put their bodies through.
Garnett alluded to the fact that players often play through injuries that should keep them sidelined. But he also wanted Rajon Rondo to know that wouldn’t be the case here; that no comeback should occur until his body is ready to handle NBA game play.
The Bulls have been cautious with Derrick Rose, and KG wants nothing less for the Celtics’ floor general. Rondo made his fourth NBA All-Star appearance this season, and was voted in by the fans to start in the backcourt for the Eastern Conference team.
But Rondo isn’t that young. He’s about to turn 27 and is now heading into his prime. This isn’t the same injury it would have been had it occurred during his first season in the league. Rondo has now played 563 NBA games (regular season and playoffs). Because he’s played on a contending team, his 92 games of playoff basketball end up equating to another entire season of games.
Fortunately, Rondo will spare himself of the torture of year round basketball. He said he never wants to play for Team USA. After this injury, that would be even more foolish, as Rondo will need to keep his body as rested as possible when its not undergoing practices and games.
KG’s parting words were just “take care of yourself.”
Since Rondo took care of himself by going to Cancun while suspended, we’re willing to bet he takes good care of himself. But he’ll likely work hard to return to form and regain his place as one of the best ball distributing point guards in the NBA today.