When Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo dislocated his elbow in Game 3 against the Heat and returned to play the fourth quarter, it was nearly impossible not to be impressed. The man’s elbow was bending the wrong direction, he was in immense amounts of pain, yet he returned 10 minutes later to finish up the game with only one good arm. Many people compared his return to Willis Reed, who played a few minutes in the NBA Finals with a broken leg. I never saw what Reed did, but I haven’t seen many more courageous acts on the court than Rondo, and I argued it earned him hero status in Boston. I still feel that is the case. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich does not.
Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News “It’s really been hard to watch the playoffs and have them make Rondo out like Willis Reed. It’s like, Manu couldn’t even play the first game (against Memphis), and we probably shouldn’t have played him again. He went out there and worked through it, and you didn’t hear any of that kind of crap.”
“It’s like Rondo is the next coming of Willis Reed, the thing he did and the character he showed,” Popovich said. “Maybe he did show character and he was tough and all that, but it is no different than what Manu did. That just kind of angers me on a selfish level, so to speak.”