The city of Boston has always appreciated gutsy players.
Rajon Rondo might be the town's new sports hero, after his improbable return in Game Three against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
After returning from the locker room with a dislocated elbow, the Celtics looked motivated by Rondo's courage. He energized the crowd, and his teammates, and that means a lot in the playoffs.
The injury was ugly, and it initially appeared that Rondo would at least be sidelined for several days. But his return to the game, and his ability to play with mainly his right arm, likely served as inspiration. The Celtics need to show some heart, and Rondo sure gave it to them.
Rondo only scored six points, and had five turnovers, but his return to the game was extremely uplifting.
Though the Celtics are now down 3-1 in the series after a disappointing overtime loss, Rondo was active and still managed to put up respectable numbers.
Rondo played 38 minutes in Game Four, and scored 10 points, and had five assists. He wore a large brace and pad over his elbow, and admitted he had trouble going left.
Head coach Doc Rivers opted to go with Delonte West for most of overtime with Heat defenders pressuring Rondo and knowing he was physically limited. The result was a lack of cohesion as the Celtics mustered only four overtime points.
Rondo wasn't the most effective player on the floor for Boston, but the recently named first team all-defensive player was certainly the most motivating.
The Celtics rely on Rondo for his defense and his playmaking skills, and not having him in the starting five would probably have meant that the game would not have been as close as it was. His mere presence on the parquet is vital to the team's success.
But with the Celtics in need of a desperate comeback to win the series, at least they have a player who has shown great courage to lead them.