Ainge: Rondo to miss ‘couple of weeks’

One thing is certain about Boston Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo’s injury: he’ll be sidelined with a sprained left ankle.

How long? Well, it’s probably going to be at least a week. Maybe longer.

Rondo was helped off the court after he hurt his ankle early in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s 118-116 win over the New York Knicks. He returned and finished the game, then said afterward he expected to play against the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.

But general manager Danny Ainge said on WEEI-AM on Thursday that Rondo’s ankle was swollen after the game and will need "a couple of weeks, anyway." Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss clarified that no official timetable had been set.

When Celtics coach Doc Rivers was asked before the game against the Hawks how long the guard would be out, he said: "I really don’t have an update. One, two weeks."

Rondo, clearly the team’s offensive spark, is averaging 11.2 points and a career-best 13.8 assists per game. He has missed four games with hamstring and foot problems. The Celtics went 3-1 during that stretch.

Rivers said Nate Robinson will take his place in the starting lineup.

"All the injuries are more of the problem – not just one player," Rivers said.

Boston is already minus backup guard Delonte West, who is sidelined for a while after having surgery on his broken right wrist on November 30.

"We can’t lose another one," Rivers said. "Right now Nate’s going to need to play a ton of minutes."

Rivers hoped Shaquille O’Neal could return Sunday. The coach said he would miss the game against Atlanta – his fourth straight – with a sore right calf.