After Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo went down for the season with a partially torn ACL January 25, with the Celtics in the midst of a six-game losing streak that dropped their record to 20-23 at the time. Since that date the Celtics are 14-5 without Rondo, with the play of versatile forward Jeff Green playing a major role in the turnaround.
Green has made an inspirational return to the court after missing all of the strike-shortened 2011-2012 season and is beginning to show the form that enticed the Celtics to trade Kendrick Perkins for him at the deadline back in 2011. Green was decent in a reserve role for the Celtics at the time, but a heart condition derailed his career for a year.
After returning to the court this season Green has yet to miss a game and has been solid off the bench averaging 11.0 points per game and 3.4 rebounds, giving the Celtics a reliable, more versatile scorer to compliment Boston’s other more perimeter-based reserves.
Green has been especially productive since Rondo’s injury. In the 20 games since Rondo went down Green is averaging 14.5 points and four rebounds in about 31 minutes a game while knocking shooting .366 from three-point range. At 6’9″ and with his athleticism Green is also able to play multiple positions for the Celtics, giving head coach Doc Rivers the option of throwing Green into multiple lineups depending on the match up.
Many believed the Celtics were acting prematurely when they signed Green to a four-year, $36 million extension in August of 2012 before seeing if Green could still play. The move now looks like a great one, with Green playing a large role in Boston’s rebound from their unfortunate start.