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Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 11: Rajon Rondo suffers season-ending ACL injury 12.22.13 at 9:04 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No.11: Rajon Rondo suffers season-ending ACL injury. To see the previous entries, click here.

When the Celtics fell to the Hawks, 123-111, in double-overtime on Jan. 25, 2013, it represented a heartbreaking loss for a team desperate for a victory. The loss dropped the C’s three games below .500 for the second time in the 2012-13 season, and it marked their sixth straight defeat, their longest losing streak since they lost 18 in a row during their horrendous 2007 campaign.

Unbeknownst to the C’s, they’€™d also lost arguably their best player, a loss that would set off a massive rebuilding process in Boston, and the eventual removal of their championship-winning coach. Rajon Rondo, a Celtic since 2007 and the starting point guard of the 2008 team that won the Larry O’€™Brien Trophy, suffered a torn ACL during the game, an injury that would force him to miss the rest of the 2012-13 season and at least the first two months of the 2013-14 campaign.

The severity of Rondo’€™s injury was revealed both to Boston’€™s players and a national audience in the middle of the team’€™s second straight double-overtime game, a 100-98 win over the Heat on Jan. 27.

“It was shocking, frustrating,” Rondo said. “I wanted to play against the Heat that day, Sunday, and I thought I was playing. But maybe 30 minutes on the clock I did my ritual, my routine, I got in the shower and something was telling me this just didn’t feel right.”

Before his injury, Rondo averaged career highs in points (13.7), rebounds (5.6) and minutes (37.4) and dished out 11.1 assists per game, which would have placed him second in the NBA in that stat.

“Obviously the Rondo news is tough,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the Miami game. “I knew before the game, but I didn’t tell anyone. Obviously it was pretty emotional.”

Forward Kevin Garnett, one of Rondo’€™s closest friends on the team, expressed his disappointment as well.

“It was a big blow to everybody in here, me included,” Garnett said. “Man, that hurt. It’s tough. We had a tough game, came in, and he told the whole team in the locker room. It’s tough, tough on everybody.

“[Rondo is] becoming the heart and soul of this team. He’s coming into his own. Had some bumps in the road, but we’re just trying to be supportive for him.”

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Read More: Boston Sports Stories of the Year 2013, Danny Ainge, doc rivers, kevin garnett
LEEInks List: Devastating injuries to Boston athletes in past decade 02.12.13 at 11:51 am ET
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It’s been a rough few weeks for the Celtics. First it was Rajon Rondo going down with a season-ending ACL tear. Then Jared Sullinger was lost for the season with a back issue that will require surgery. Now, Leandro Barbosa appears to have suffered a serious knee injury in Monday night’s loss to the Bobcats that ended Boston’s seven-game winning streak.

Rajon Rondo's knee injury has the Celtics considering their options for the rest of the season. (AP)

Where do the C’s go from here? The team can take one of two paths. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge could stick with the team he has minus Rondo, Sullinger and Barbosa, maybe make a couple of small upgrades before the trade deadline, and hope for an unlikely long playoff run. Some are pushing for Ainge to “blow up” the team, make a significant trade or two (possibly involving career-long Celtic Paul Pierce or the emotional team leader Kevin Garnett) and look toward the organization’s future. This might lead to the team missing out on the postseason for the first time since the 2006-07 season (the year before the C’s acquired Garnett and Ray Allen).

Whatever Ainge, Doc Rivers and the organization decide to do, it seems that these injuries — especially to the All-Star Rondo — are a crushing blow to the team’s already slim chances at a deep playoff run.

This certainly isn’t the only time a Boston team has been bitten bad by the injury bug. With that in mind, here are 10 of the most devastating injuries affecting Boston sports teams in the last 10 years.

10. Patriots, 2005 — Rodney Harrison suffers season-ending knee injury

By 2005, Harrison was a 12-year NFL veteran, slightly old and injury-prone. In a Week 3 matchup vs. the Steelers, the safety tore his ACL, MCL and PCL and was done for the season. To add to that, offensive lineman Matt Light also was lost for the season during the same game. Harrison was the team’s veteran leader in the secondary and his absence was costly. The Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC divisional round that postseason.

9. Red Sox, 2010 — Jacoby Ellsbury misses majority of season with multiple issues

Injuries decimated the Red Sox at a historic pace in 2010, as 19 players combined for 24 stints on the disabled list, and many of them were key players on the roster. Ellsbury had three of those 24 stints. In April, Ellsbury was placed on the 15-day DL after colliding with third baseman Adrian Beltre and injuring his ribs. Ellsbury came back at the end of May but re-injured the ribs and went back on the disabled list. Again, Ellsbury rejoined the Red Sox in the beginning of August, but after a week and a half, Ellsbury was done for the season.

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Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, kevin garnett, rajon rondo, Rodney Harrison
Top Stories of 2012, No. 5: Celtics burned by Heat in Eastern Conference finals 12.29.12 at 7:55 pm ET
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Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 5: the Celtics’ loss to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year
No. 8: Bruins’ early playoff elimination
No. 7: Ray Allen’s departure from Celtics
No. 6: Tim Thomas’ political controversy and sabbatical

The Celtics put forth a valiant effort but were not able to knock off LeBron James and the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. (AP)

The Celtics were one victory away from advancing to the NBA finals. But what stood in the way, LeBron James and the Miami Heat, turned out to be more than the Big Three and the rest of the Celtics could handle.

A 101-88 defeat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals put an abrupt end to a playoff run that looked like it had legs after a comeback season from the Celtics, who were under .500 at the All-Star break of a lockout-shortened season.

The C’s battled injury issues all season. Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox had season-ending heart ailments. Jermaine O’Neal had his season end early, and Avery Bradley missed the Heat series. Even as the playoffs began, a sprained MCL slowed down Paul Pierce and bone spurs kept Ray Allen off the floor.

After finishing first in the Atlantic Division at 39-27, the Celtics took down the Hawks in six games in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. They went on to get by the 76ers in a seven-game series and line things up for a big series with the Heat.

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Read More: 2012 Stories of the Year, Brandon Bass, Chris Bosh, doc rivers
Top Stories of 2011, No. 8: Celtics’ playoff loss to Heat 12.24.11 at 12:00 pm ET
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For the final 10 days of 2011, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our next entry in the countdown is No. 8: The Celtics’ playoff loss to the Heat.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NBA lockout
No. 9: NFL lockout

Ray Allen and the Celtics tried to hang around against the Heat in the playoffs but were eliminated in five games. (AP)

Even before the start of the 2010-11 NBA season, Doc Rivers knew that there was one team the Celtics were going to have to face if they were to put together another championship run. When the Heat formed their own Big Three with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, it was evident that Boston and the new superteam on South Beach would end up in a postseason showdown at some point.

So it was no surprise that after sweeping the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, the Celtics were preparing to face the Heat win what many called the most anticipated second-round matchup in NBA history.

“We assumed when they put this team together, at some point if we want to put another banner up then we’ll probably have to go through them,” Rivers said of the Heat days before the series began.

The Celtics were 3-1 against Miami in the regular season, but all three wins came before the All-Star break, when Boston was 40-14, tied with the Heat atop the Eastern conference standings. After the All-Star break, the Celtics were just 16-12, dropping to third in the Eastern conference, while the Bulls and Heat rose to the top to secure the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively.

Many attributed Boston’s poor play in the second half the season to the trade of Kendrick Perkins. The menacing center was traded to the Thunder along with guard Nate Robinson on Feb. 24 in exchange for center Nenad Kristic, young forward Jeff Green and a 2012 first-round pick.

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Read More: doc rivers, kevin garnett, Paul Pierce, rajon rondo
Top Stories of 2011, No. 10: NBA lockout 12.22.11 at 5:16 pm ET
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For the final 10 days of 2011, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our first entry in the countdown is No. 10: The NBA lockout.

With the NBA lockout finally over, new Celtic Brandon Bass (30) and Rajon Rondo have a shortened season to prepare for. (AP)

After a summer of doubt, NBA commissioner David Stern went from Grinch to Santa when he delivered the gift of a 2011-12 NBA season. Basketball fans worldwide can rejoice on Christmas Day when they get to see their beloved league back in action, even if the season is shortened.

The lockout started July 1, as owners and players disagreed on terms of a new collective bargaining agreement. Primarily, the disagreement centered on who would get the majority of the league’s income. There was more to the CBA than that, of course, but the fact that the owners wanted to recapture more of the income pie left the players up in arms.

Over the course of the summer, negotiations were held between the leagues executives and the NBA players union, led by Billy Hunter, who oversaw the union’s litigation against the league during the 1998 NBA lockout.

With the experienced Hunter at the helm and Lakers guard Derek Fisher in charge of the players, the NBA went into a stalemate all summer. With neither the owners nor players budging on their terms and the season right around the corner, Stern made the move on October to cancel the first two weeks of the season, a blow to revenue for players and owners alike.

Stern went on to cancel the first quarter of the season when the players union made its first major move of the lockout by filing two anti-trust lawsuits against the owners.

On Thanksgiving, the two sides finally broke down and agreed to a new deal. According to Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, common sense prevailed.

“The general concept was this is regrettable to have this lockout,” he said during Wednesday’s appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show. “If there is a deal, we might as well just go ahead and get to it. If there isn’t, that would be very disappointing.”

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Read More: Danny Ainge, David Stern, Jeff Green, rajon rondo
Top 10 of 2011: Boston Athletes of the Year at 5:10 pm ET
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Jacoby Ellsbury finished second in the American League MVP balloting in 2011. (AP)

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was an obvious choice for WEEI’s 2011 Sportsman of the Year. With the veteran leading the team to its first Stanley Cup title since 1972 after a standout regular season, he stood above all other candidates.

That being the case, plenty of other Boston athletes deserve praise for memorable 2011 seasons in which records were broken, awards were won and individual performances were etched in fans’ memories. So, we present our list of the Top 10 Boston Athletes of 2011.

10. Keegan Bradley, PGA

A Vermont native who graduated from Hopkinton High School in Massachusetts, Bradley burst onto the scene in 2011 with his shocking victory at the PGA Championship, leading to his being named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Bradley beat Jason Dufner in a playoff at the Atlanta Athletic Club on Aug. 14 and became only the third man to win a major on his first try.

9. Geoffrey Mutai, Boston Marathon

Sure, it’s only of passing interest to many Boston sports fans, but the best individual performance of 2011 might have been Mutai’s victory in Boston on April 18. The 29-year-old Kenyan not only shattered the Boston Marathon course record by almost three minutes, he ran the fastest marathon in history, blazing to the tape in 2:03:02. Mutai would go to win the New York City Marathon in November, also setting a course record there.

8. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

The Red Sox’ biggest offseason acquisition came to town with high expectations, and he did not disappoint. Gonzalez was a force throughout the season, abusing the Green Monster like he’d been hitting at Fenway his entire life and reminding Red Sox fans of the value of having a strong defensive presence at first base. Aside from home runs (27), he posted career highs in almost every other major offensive statistic, finishing the season with a league-best 213 hits, a .338 average, a .410 on-base percentage, a .548 slugging percentage and 117 RBIs. He received a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for his efforts.

7. Rajon Rondo, Celtics

He might not be part of the Big Three, but Rondo is becoming the driving force for the Celtics offense and defense. That was evident last season, when the All-Star and NBA All-Defensive first-teamer averaged a double-double with 10.6 points and a career-high 11.2 assists a game while averaging 37.2 minutes (also a career high). Rondo was spectacular when it mattered, recording a triple-double (including a franchise-record 20 assists) in a Game 3 victory over the Knicks in the playoff’s opening round. In the second round against the Heat, he dislocated his left elbow during Game 3 but dramatically returned to the game and, barely using his injured left arm, managed to spark the C’s to their only victory of the series.

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Read More: adrain gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Luke Kuechly, rajon rondo
Report: Chris Paul’s agent never asked for trade to Knicks 12.02.11 at 10:18 am ET
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Chris Paul doesn't seem long for New Orleans. (AP)

Ever since the players and the owners came to a tentative agreement to end the NBA lockout, Hornets point guard Chris Paul has been at the center of numerous trade rumors. Some have speculated that New Orleans will deal him to the Knicks, teaming him up with Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Other rumors have him being traded to the Celtics for Rajon Rondo.

On Thursday, Yahoo! Sports released a report that said Paul’s agent told Hornets officials that his client will not ink a contract extension with the team and wishes to be traded to the Knicks. But according to the New Orleans newspaper The Times Picayune, neither Paul nor his agent have requested a trade.

“It is just rumors; you can’t control it,’’ Paul said. “It’s always going to happen, and it’s part of the game. I’m just happy to be back with my team.’’

Paul is in the final year of his contract with New Orleans. The Hornets will try to sign Paul to a contract extension, but according to The Times Picayune and Yahoo! Sports, the team has entertained trade offers from other teams to ensure that it gets some sort of compensation for Paul leaving rather than letting him enter free agency at the end of the season.

While the Yahoo! Sports report says that Paul wishes to be traded to the Knicks, it also details how New York does not have the trade assets to obtain Paul from the Hornets. Much of the speculation surrounding Paul going to the Knicks has been fueled by the fact that Paul and Anthony are good friends and spent time together over the summer.

Read More: Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, rajon rondo
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Yankee Stadium waiters sue park concessionaire 05.10.11 at 7:41 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY MONDAY:
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ Three seat-side servers at Yankee Stadium are suing the park’s concessionaire, Legends Hospitality, because they claim they are not getting a share of the 20 percent delivery charge listed on customer’s bills. “They wonder where it’s going if it’s not going to you,” server Evelyn Ryan said of customer’s inquiries. Legends Hospitality is owned in part by the Yankees.

♦ According to documents released Monday by the FBI, George Steinbrenner assisted the organization so that he could receive a pardon for his 1972 conviction for illegal campaign contributions. Steinbrenner also blamed bad legal advice for that conviction.

♦ The NBA’s All-Defensive team was announced Monday, and Celtics Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo are on the first team. So is Kobe Bryant, although Zach Lowe at The Point Forward writes that Bryant does not deserve that accolade, one of a few problems Lowe has with the selections.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 10, 1970, Bobby Orr scored 40 seconds into overtime of Game 4 to give the Bruins the Stanley Cup with a sweep of the Blues. Who served as captain of that Blues team before embarking on a Hall of Fame coaching career the following season?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “These are those moments. I look forward to it. Everybody on this team, we know what to do. We can’t talk about it; we just have to put our best foot forward. It’s not easy. It just makes it that much more special if we’re able to do it.” Ray Allen, after the Celtics lost to the Heat Monday night to fall behind 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals

STAT OF THE DAY: 2 — Games this season in which the Twins have been held to three or fewer runs, including Monday night’s 2-1 loss to the Red Sox

‘NET RESULTS: Georgia high school basketball player Shaquille Johnson shows off his leaping ability with a thundering slam dunk.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Al Arbour, who led the Islanders to four straight titles from 1980-83

SOOTHING SOUNDS: U2 lead singer Bono turns 52 Tuesday.

Read More: George Steinbrenner, kevin garnett, kobe bryant, rajon rondo
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Train conductor chooses job over opportunity with Jets 12.08.10 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY WEDNESDAY:
NBA: Nuggets at Celtics, 7 p.m. (CSNEE; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ With the Jets in need of help at safety following the season-ending injury to Jim Leonhard, the team called Keith Fitzhugh, a player they cut in camp the past two years. Fitzhugh, however, decided to keep his job as a train conductor. The 24-year-old, who starred at Mississippi State, said he needs to be committed to the Norfolk Southern Railroad to help support his parents. “I don’t want to let [the railroad] down or run from them because I got a shot for a couple of weeks,” he said. “I just feel that that’s not right at the moment. I’m looking more long-term in life right now than the short-term.”

Added Fitzhugh: “I know the Jets have a great opportunity of making the Super Bowl, and that’s one dream that every child has is to play sports and make it to the Super Bowl or get to the World Series. But, there’s a time when you have to think, ‘Hey, you’ve only got one Mom and Dad.’ They won’t be here forever, and while they’re here, you’ve got to cherish that time.”

♦ A Los Angeles judge ruled in favor of Jamie McCourt on Tuesday, declaring her as co-owner of the Dodgers with her estranged husband, Frank. In The Los Angeles Times, T.J. Simers writes that the silver lining is this means the McCourts likely will have to sell the team.

Forbes magazine released a list of the top 10 NBA players for the buck. LeBron James is No. 1 despite his lofty price tag. Celtics guard Rajon Rondo is third.

♦ The failure to include the result of a game between two FCS playoff teams caused two mistakes in the final BCS rankings, which were altered after the fix was made. This gave critics of the BCS plenty of new ammo. At SI.com, Andy Staples writes about the controversy and how the system’s lack of transparency makes problems such as this possible.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 8, 1973, the Red Sox acquired which future Hall of Fame pitcher?

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Read More: Keith Fitzhugh, LeBron James, rajon rondo,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup 07.20.10 at 7:45 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
MLB: Red Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ Umpire Phil Cuzzi is taking some heat for blowing a key call at home in Sunday’s Mets-Giants game that cost San Francisco a win. He also yelled at some Mets players, who didn’t like the way Cuzzi was calling pitches. The New York Daily News reports that some disciplinary action from Major League Baseball is expected for Cuzzi. This is the same umpire who missed the foul-line call in last year’s Twins-Yankees playoff game, and he also made some news last month when he ejected a Dodgers player AFTER the game.

♦ The New York Times has a report on the final resting place for George Steinbrenner. It’s an unmarked mausoleum in a quiet Florida community.

Helene Elliott in The Los Angeles Times writes that the Kings were stunned to lose out on Ilya Kovalchuk, who re-signed a front-loaded, 17-year, $100 million deal with the Devils.

John Schuhmann at NBA.com analyzes the candidates for the new-look U.S. national team and predicts that Celtics guard Rajon Rondo will not make the squad.

Alberto Contador took the lead at the Tour de France, but he’s coming under sharp criticism for pulling ahead of former leader Andy Schleck while Schleck was stopped because of a mechanical problem. Ned Burton in England’s Telegraph looks at Contador’s history and has the video of Contador apologizing after Monday’s stage, which ended with the Spaniard being booed on the winner’s podium. Meanwhile, Rachel Blount in the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that Lance Armstrong‘s denials of performance-enhancing drugs are sounding weaker, and the cycling legend should welcome the federal investigation if he is indeed clean.

Ed Graney in the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes about former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, now a Nevada pastor, returning to the pulpit on Sunday for the first time since his 2-year-old son died after drowning in the family’s backyard hot tub.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On July 20, 1955, which Red Sox rookie allowed a single to the first batter he faced and then allowed no hits the rest of the game?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There are countless small improvements that I would want to make throughout my outing. But this is the type of pitching I really want to continue to do as the season goes on.” — Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, after Monday night’s efficient 2-1 win over the A’s

STAT OF THE DAY: 17 — Years of the contract between the Devils and free agent forward Ilya Kovalchuk announced Monday

‘NET RESULTS: Celtics forward Glen Davis thought it would be a good idea to make a video of himself dancing alone.

A Chilean soccer player makes a dirty play, assaults the referee and is tackled by his teammates. At least he didn’t flop.

A fan gets tased at a minor league game in Daytona.

TRIVIA ANSWER: George Susce Jr., in a 6-0 victory over the Kansas City Athletics

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Carlos Santana turns 63 today.

Read More: Ilya Kovalchuk, Phil Cuzzi, rajon rondo,