I really hate to be the guy to pump the breaks on an NBA player suffering a dislocated elbow injury, popping it back in place and returning to play while using only one arm because his elbow was in so much pain, but I can't help but think we made too much out of Rajon Rondo returning to Game 3 of the Celtics-Heat series on Saturday night. It was really impressive, don't get me wrong. Rondo probably felt he needed to help inspire his banged-up team, and you can be sure he did just that. Maybe it has an effect for the rest of the series that we can't explain right now.
But was it one of the most heroic performances in playoff history? Slow down, folks. When Rondo got tangled up with Dwyane Wade, the Celtics were leading by 10 points. When Rondo returned at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Celtics were leading by 11 points. At the end of the day, the Celtics won the game by 16 points. For a performance like that to be legendary in my eyes, the game's outcome has to be more in doubt that that. Even WIllis Reed entered Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals with the score 0-0. The Celtics probably would have won the game anyway without Rondo, though obviously there are no guarantees.
Again, it was a remarkable performance by Rondo, and there may be some intangible effect to it that we have yet to discover. But let's not forget that Game 3 was won by others with Rondo playing a supporting part.